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DRR action plan activities progressing well in Morowali, Central Sulawesi

As part of the coaching and mentoring phase, StIRRRD team members visited Morowali on 14 and 15 August.  This was a good opportunity to meet Pak Nafsahu, the new head of BPBD, and congratulate the district on graduating stage one of the StIRRRD programme.  On Monday morning, the team met with staff from BPBD to discuss action plan progress where Pak Nafsahu reiterated the strong support Morowali has for StIRRRD.  That afternoon the District Secretary was presented with a graduation certificate, commemorating Morowali’s graduation of StIRRRD phase one followed by a DRR training session for staff from many local government departments.

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StIRRRD team members meet with BPBD staff
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Morowali phase 1 graduation ceremony

Morowali has made significant progress on action plan activity implementation since the last visit in March, highlights include:

  • The implementation of a text based warning service partnering with BMKG, Telkomsel and Indosat. Morowali was the first district in Indonesia to pilot the implementation of this successful public-private initiative.
  • A disaster management plan was commissioned with the support of BNPB.
  • A district specific risk assessment has been conducted and is being reviewed by BNPB. This document specifically identifies the Matano Fault risk where the fault location is being used to inform spatial land use plan boundaries.
  • A response coordination facility has been erected on Sombori Island.
  • Multiple physical works, to reduce the impacts of flooding and coastal waves, have been constructed across the district.
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StIRRRD team members discuss DRR activities at a secondary school in Bahadopi Village
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Recent river work improvements to reduce flooding in Bahadopi village

AUGUST EARTHQUAKE SHAKES BENGKULU

At 10:08 am on Sunday 13 August, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred off the coast of Sumatra, about 75km to the west of Kota Bengkulu (Figure 1). The earthquake occurred at a depth of around 35 km, and resulted in strong shaking in the Bengkulu and Seluma districts. The earthquake was felt as far away as Padang and South Sumatra but did not generate any tsunamis.

In North Bengkulu (the area closest to the quake) strong shaking was felt for about 10 seconds, causing some panic amongst locals. The most common response was to quickly move outdoors. Some minimal damage to buildings was observed, but there were no reports of casualties. The earthquake resulted in power outages in some parts of the district.

Bengkulu BPBD activated in response to the event, with staff undertaking field checks, and reporting for duty if a wider response was required. They were stood down later in the day.

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Figure 1  Map showing the location of the earthquake and modelled shaking intensities. Source: http://www.bmkg.go.id/gempabumi/gempabumi-terkini.bmkg

There is significant seismic risk for many communities on the island of Sumatra, and the districts involved in the StIRRRD program have included a number of activities in their DRR Action Plans to better understand and reduce this risk. StIRRRD alumni are also working on a range of other seismic risk reduction activities. For example, at the University of Bengkulu, Dr. M. Farid is working to understand and map liquefaction hazard; and Universitas Andalas (Padang) staff are trialing a method to retrofit un-reinforced brick buildings with wire mesh, to improve their ability to withstand seismic shaking.

Coaching and Mentoring in West Sumatra and Bengkulu

The StIRRRD team spent a busy week in early July, providing support and training for the districts in West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces. A day each was spent in Seluma, Bengkulu City, Agam, Padang City and Pesisir Selatan. Each of these districts are at different stages on their journey towards reducing risk from disasters, and the visit enabled some honest conversations about the difficulties they face, as well as a chance to celebrate and learn from successes achieved to date.

Seluma

Monday was spent in Seluma, which is facing challenges as the district tries to implement Action Plan activities.  It was discussed that improved coordination between agencies will help with improved implementation.  District BPBD staff are aware of this issue and it was reassuring that they were able to arrange a meeting with representatives from all the main local government agencies. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Head of District, who expressed support for the StIRRRD project, on behalf of the Bupati. The Head of Parliament also attended, and gave an impassioned speech encouraging stakeholders to improve their coordination efforts, and to work together to improve the capacity of people in Seluma, so they can reduce the risk from disasters. The StIRRRD team will continue to through coaching and mentoring, and a community project designed to make better use of the tsunami shelter in the village of Rawa Indah is scheduled to commence later this year.

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Commitment to the actions outlined in the Seluma DRR Action Plan was confirmed during the July visit, with the Head of BPBD (Pak Azwardi), Deputy Head of District (Pak Rosyikin), and Bu Yudhy Harini Bertham from University of Bengkulu signing the document

Bengkulu

DRR activities in the city of Bengkulu are being well coordinated by the district BPBD office. They have implemented a tsunami “Blue Line” project and included it in an evacuation simulation for schools. Work is planned for 2018 to further implement blue lines along the city’s coastline, and to improve evacuation routes and upgrade signage. The StIRRRD team, including an expert from the University of Bengkulu (UNIB), spoke with invited stakeholders about the need to involve local communities in future blue line projects, to help raise awareness and empower community initiatives.

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Tsunami Safe Zone signs and Blue Line, Bengkulu City

Representatives at this meeting also discussed the concept of a ‘lifelines’ group, comprising agencies which provide critical infrastructure services to the community (e.g. water, electricity, transport). It seems that the good progress on DRR being made in Bengkulu could be enhanced by setting up a similar group of agencies, which would work together to better understand the likely impact of hazards on their own assets and services, and on the other utilities that they rely on.

Agam

Wednesday was spent in Agam, where the local BPBD office hosted a workshop with a wide range of agencies involved in DRR work. This included representatives from the private sector (banks, forestry and electricity), NGO’s such as Jamari Sakato and a micro-loan program for women, university staff from Padang and Agam, ‘disaster-ready’ journalists, Police, several local government agencies, the tourism office, and a number of sub-district heads.

The workshop covered a range of topics, including a ‘lifelines’ group, and demonstrated the widespread support for DRR work in Agam, from political leaders, local government and the private sector, down to the village level.  The approach taken in Agam starts from the ‘bottom’ and work up – i.e. ensure that well-educated communities and local government staff are able to take the initiative and implement their own DRR programs, in a coordinated and timely manner. A key message that was re-iterated by several speakers is that DRR is everyone’s responsibility, not just BPBD.

Pesisir Selatan

On Thursday morning, a meeting was held with the Bupati, Head of Parliament and the District Secretary.  Although the district is very scenic and has a wide range of natural resources, it is also vulnerable to disasters. There is only 1 road linking Painan to Padang City, and this traverses some difficult terrain and can be easily cut by landslides or flooding. The district leaders are keen on further development, and requested help to advocate to central government for additional inland roading networks. These would also allow evacuation from low-lying land into the hills.

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A view of Pesisir Selatan’s coastline, from Cubadak Island

Several OPD agencies, including public health, environment, water resources and social affairs also reported on their work programs during this meeting. They are committed and have a good understanding of the challenges they face, but have inadequate resources, and there is limited coordination between agencies on DRR activities.  Further work will be required to improve the capacity of people in Pesisir Selatan, to reduce risk from disasters.

Padang

Friday morning was spent with Padang BPBD, who were involved in the StIRRRD project as a pilot program. To address tsunami risk, the local BPBD office has committed enthusiastically to the ‘Blue Line’ concept, which was originally developed in Wellington, New Zealand. Initiatives in the project include:

  • Large-scale maps showing tsunami hazard zones and the location of buildings which can be used as vertical evacuation shelters.
  • Engaging a consultant to determine future locations for blue lines across the city.
  • Technical design specifications for signs and the lines themselves.
  • Working with other agencies to add additional lighting so the lines can be seen at night.
  • A comprehensive socialisation program, with specific actions to enable risk reduction activities in various social settings, including homes, villages, schools, campuses, tutor’s buildings, mosques, hospitals, markets, malls and hotels. They also use TV and radio to disseminate information.
  • As part of this program, BPBD staff are visiting individual homes, and helping them to make their own plan for a tsunami. Once trained, the household receives an information sticker to put on a window, and a record of the visit is made (see image).
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Log book recording visits by BPBD staff to individual households

This visit highlighted some excellent DRR initiatives which are underway, as well as challenges some districts are facing. Significant and rapid progress is being made in some locations, while others are struggling to make headway. Key lessons from this visit for successful DRR implementation include:

  • Commitment and support from political leaders – not just words, but the backing to implement a range of activities, and to ensure that the responsible agencies coordinate and communicate regularly with each other.
  • A ‘DRR champion’ who has some level of seniority and respect, who has the passion and ability to plan and then implement appropriate activities, and who can work well with other agencies.

May a shaky month for Central Sulawesi

At 4.10pm on 24 May 2017, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred off the coast of South Bungku District, Morowali.  The earthquake is thought to have occurred on the Matano Fault at a depth of around 10km.  Several felt aftershocks have occurred since the initial earthquake.

Shaking was felt strongly in Morowali with reports of people running from houses.  Subsequent media reports note that at least 20 homes were damaged, most lightly, with one house severely damaged in Siumbatu Village, South Bungku District.

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Map showing the location of the earthquake and indicative shaking intensities.  Source: http://www.bmkg.go.id

Only five days later, at 9.35pm on 29 March, the province was again shaken, this time by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake centred 38km from the village of Poso.  This earthquake was strongly felt in Poso and according to media reports, generally felt in most parts of Central Sulawesi.  Media reports indicate that some buildings were damaged in Poso from this earthquake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxVqgl2XasI

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Map showing the location of the earthquake and indicative shaking intensities.  Source: http://www.bmkg.go.id

Matano Fault and StIRRRD

As part of the StIRRRD programme, staff from the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) are working with Morowali BPBD and Action Plan partners to improve knowledge and raise awareness of the risk associated with the Matano Fault.  This fault creates a significant hazard for Morowali, cutting right through the district and extending offshore (see figure below).  BMKG, Indonesia’s earthquake monitoring agency,  estimate that the Matano Fault can generate earthquakes up to around magnitude 7.3.

The Morowali DRR Action Plan, being led by the Morowali BPBD, includes a project to undertake more research on the Matano Fault and the fault’s associated risks.  This information will inform planning and development in areas close to the fault and help inform future public education.

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Map of Morowali District and the Matano Fault.  Source: Universitas Gadjah Mada.

DRR Action Plan Progress in Donggala

As part of the StIRRRD team’s ongoing monitoring and coaching role, during March we visited all districts to gauge their respective progress and where possible, provide support and advice for building on the initial success of the program. In this blog we describe some of the highlights from our visit to Donggala, Central Sulawesi.

Welcome back to Donggala

As the StIRRRD programme moves from phase 1 (plan development and training) to phase 2 (implementation and monitoring), districts are presented with a certificate and small NZ-themed gift to recognise their progress.  To mark this occasion, BPBD arranged a ceremony to welcome the StIRRRD team back to Donggala and provided a rousing rendition of the Indonesian national anthem as well as BNPB’s national disaster theme song.

Action Plan Progress

During the morning of 20 March, a workshop was held which included the Secretary Head of District, emergency management, public works and other local government staff to discuss implementation progress in Donggala.  During this session, it was clear the district has made good progress on policy reviews which now include DRR objectives, while further opportunities to align existing socialisation programmes with Action Plan activities were also identified.

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Members of the Donggala and BPBD and the StIRRRD team

An update of Donggala’s 2010 building regulations has been conducted and were re-published in 2015.  The new regulations now require that new buildings are designed to be ‘earthquake resilient’.  The local government spatial planning office is undertaking a programme for the implementation of ‘earthquake resilient buildings’ in both existing and new development areas.

At the workshop, senior representation from a range of stakeholders, identified the potential for further synergy between work programmes where this was previously not recognised.  For example, the local government Head of Social Agency has identified planned programmes that will now be aligned with BPBD’s socialisation activities.  In addition, the local government Head of Environment Agency provided substantial discussion on the probable exacerbation of flooding and impact on water resources from mining activities.  These discussions provide a strong platform to align existing work programmes with Action Plan activities in Donggala.

Action Plan Forward Plan

During the afternoon, the Action Plan and discussion points from the morning’s workshop were discussed in detail with the emergency management office; as custodians of the Action Plan.  At this session, it was important to have not only the Head of BPBD but each BPBD Division Head, Readiness and DRR, Logistics, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and BPBD staff to review the Action Plan.

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Heads of local government departments and stakeholders discuss Action Plan progress

Tsunami Risk Reduction activities a highlight for Comparative Study Tour participants

On 8 April, comparative study tour participants learnt about tsunami risk reduction activities in place in Wellington.  Dan Neely from the regional emergency management office (WREMO) provided insight into the internationally awarding winning blue line initiative.  The initiative is much more than blue paint marking the maximum credible tsunami inundation extent.  It provides a platform for communities to understand their potential tsunami hazards, the associated risks and how they might collectively manage these risks.

Participants visited a street in the Island bay community where the blue line initiative was initially developed.  Dan explained that the project has been effective at raising community awareness on what to do in the event of strong, long earthquake; more than conventional signage mounted on poles.  Also, schools in the blue line areas have conducted evacuation drills with one school fundraising to construct a staircase so children and staff can evacuate quicker and more safely in the event of an earthquake.

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In the tsunami safe zone! StIRRRD comparative study participants learn about the Wellington blue line initiative.

Near the coast in Island Bay, Dan showcased public education messageboards that have been erected in locations where the public gather, such as playgrounds.  These strategically placed boards provide information on evacuation zones, key routes and what to do in the event of an earthquake.

There was substantial discussion from our Indonesian participants and many questions on implementation of the project.  These discussions continued on the following day where participants presented their draft DRR action plans, some of which had been amended to include similar community-led initiatives.

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Study visit participants are briefed by Dan on Island Bay tsunami risk.

Other StIRRRD districts, from the 2015 comparative study tour, are also considering similar projects.  Pesisir Selatin has been in discussion with StIRRRD team members on how they might apply the blue lines project in their local context.  Support by BNPB, the national disaster agency, the role out of this project would be a first for Indonesia.  Watch this space!

Morowali Focus Group Discussion: Memetakan Partisipasi Perempuan dalam kegiatan Pengurangan Resiko Bencana (PRB)

Bencana yang sama bisa membawa dampak yang berbeda bagi kelompok gender yang berbeda. FGD ini dilakukan pada hari Selasa, 18 Februari 2016 di Kantor BPBD Kabupaten Morowali. Kegiatan FGD ini  tidak hanya melibatkan para perempuan akan tetapi juga para laki laki. Selain perwakilan dari beberapa lembaga pemerintah di Kabupaten Morowali, juga melibatkan perwakilan kelompok masyarakat yang berasal dari Karang Taruna, Majelis Mualimat dan NGO.
Kegiatan ini bertujuan untuk; 1) menjelajahi konteks lokal seperti konteks geografis dan konteks sosial (peran gender), 2) menjelajahi pemahaman masyarakat terhadap ancaman bencana di daerah mereka,  3) memetakan masalah dan kerentanan yang timbul ketika berhadapan dengan bahaya dan bencana, 4) relasi gender dalam kegiatan PRB, dan mengeksplorasi gagasan dari pemerintah, masyarakat dan para pihak yang terkait untuk perencanaan program PRB di masa mendatang.

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Better Recognition of Morowali Earthquake Risk

Held on 16 February, Morowali’s Action Plan workshop received positive feedback from local stakeholders and parliamentarians.  Having experienced frequent flooding and coastal abrasion issues in recent years, local authorities have been concentrating reduction efforts on mitigating the impacts of these natural hazards, largely through physical works.

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Morowali action plan workshop participants, 16-17 February 2016.
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Central Sulawesi, Indonesia showing locations of major active faults. Image: Dr Agung Setianto, UGM.

Morowali’s Vulnerability Profile

Working through Morowali’s vulnerability profile showed that while flooding and coastal abrasion are frequent occurrences, the threat of large earthquakes affecting the district is very high.  Due to the presence of active faulting across Central Sulawesi and the specific location of some faults (see image), Morowali ranks in the top 40 out of 500 districts prone to earthquake activity across Indonesia.

Earthquakes: So what’s the risk Morowali?

In his presentation to workshop participants, Professor Iman Satyarno from UGM University, described the prevalence of the Matano Fault in central Morowali (see image).  On 16 April 2012, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred, located on or nearby this fault.  The earthquake heavily damaged houses in two communities while also damaging Morowali’s government buildings.  Two years later another earthquake occurred further to the east, causing less damage but still being felt across central Morowali.  This recurrent activity is a reminder of the prevalent earthquake risk across the district.

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Morowali District, Central Sulawesi showing the location of the active Matano Fault. Image: Dr Agung Setianto, UGM.

Earthquakes: What are the DRR options?

While large earthquakes are relatively infrequent in Morowali, compared to other natural hazards, their impact may be substantially larger than the combined impact of smaller events.  This concept has been recognised by members of local government, the emergency management agency (BPBD) and other key stakeholders attending the workshop.

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Morowali workshop participants discuss the district’s vulnerability profile. Photo: Richard Woods.

These members of the community are now considering many initiatives to reduce the risk from future earthquakes.  Such initiatives include methods to strengthen existing buildings, socialisation of information on building earthquake resistant structures, microzonation of land in close proximity to active faults and regulations for future development and construction.

A Quick Win for Morowali and StIRRRD

Having a wide representation of stakeholders to consider disaster risk reduction initiatives is key to ensuring efforts are coordinated.  On 17 February, the StIRRRD team visited the local parliament to raise awareness of the project’s focus on Morowali District and seek support for the community’s action plan going forward.

During this meeting, local parliamentarians (DPRD) raised concerns regarding Morowali’s earthquake risk, particularly in regard to the Matano Fault, which had only been located in the district after boundary changes in recent years.  DPRD representatives attending the previous day’s workshops were able to convey the district’s vulnerability profile to decision makers within a matter of hours.  As a result, Morowali is now considering implementing earthquake resistant regulations and micro-zonation of properties in close proximity to the Matano Fault.

A great result for Morowali District and StIRRRD team from their short visit!  The StIRRRD team will return to Morowali later in 2016 to provide feedback on the district’s risk reduction action plan.