Category Archives: 2018

Palu and Donggala: working towards resiliency

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A man stands amid the damage caused by a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. [source: Associated Press Photo]
We can only imagine how horrific it currently is for the people of Central Sulawesi, following the magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck Donggala and Palu on late Friday afternoon 28th Sept 2018.  The damaging tsunami which struck Palu Bay at incredible speeds a reported 30mins after the quake happened, caused wide spread destruction.  This was on top of significant damage due to the earthquakes north of the city and also along the Palu-Koru Fault. Tsunami waves as high as 5.5m crashed ashore in the already damaged city, destroying buildings, smashing vehicles and killing hundreds of people.

Palu and Donggala are both StIRRRD districts and the StIRRRD team have been working in these areas over the past 7 years. We have many colleagues and friends in the community and we wait anxiously for news of how they are.

The team were last in Palu and Donggala in March 2018, installing seismometers in 3 schools in the area plus one at the university. The seismometers are intended as an educational tool to help the students understand the seismology of the area and to stimulate discussions about earthquakes and tsunami; their causes, hazard mitigation, preparedness and response actions. Students learned the importance of natural warnings for tsunami, and how to Drop, Cover and Hold. We hope these discussions in March were able to help those teachers and students with their actions in this event.

The current death toll has exceeded 840 and is expected to rise sharply over the coming days and weeks, leaving the StIRRRD team deeply concerned for our friends and colleagues who we’ve not been able to contact. In addition to the death toll, an estimated 2.4M people have been affected, with six hundred people hospitalised and 48,000 people displaced. The isolation of affected communities and the scarcity of resources is making response efforts difficult.

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Map and location of Palu and Donggala. [source: The Sun]
The tsunami was bigger than anticipated and the generation mechanism likely more complex than originally thought. The fault that ruptured on Friday was a so-called strike-slip fault, in which the earth movement is largely horizontal. That kind of movement would not ordinarily create a tsunami. However, a strike-slip fault might have some amount of vertical motion that could displace seawater. The fault’s rupture zone, may pass through an area where the seafloor rises or drops off, so that when the fault moves during the quake, it pushes seawater in front of it. Another possibility is that the tsunami was created by an undersea landslide, caused by the intense shaking. Determining the exact cause of the tsunami will have to wait until the sea floor can be examined.  The shape of Palu Bay has no doubt contributed to the size of the waves in Palu, with the waves’ energy being focused (amplified) along the hairpin shaped bay.

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Map of the Palu-Koru Fault showing the direction of displacement and areas with the greatest shaking.  [source: Dr Valkaniotis Sotiris @Planet 2018] 
In the 7 years the StIRRRD team have been working with Palu, and more recently Donggala, the districts have been making steady progress in improving their resilience. The team have been impressed by the dedication of the local government staff working in this field and Tadulako University’s efforts to improve their teaching programmes.

Palu and Donggala have been working towards the implementation of Risk Reduction Action Plans – a set of actions inspired by NZ and Indonesia working and learning together.  Since they have been introduced, they have resulted in a number of enhancements: expansion of earth sciences and risk modeling at Tadulako University, a new public education programme, micro-zonation studies in Palu, increased budget for risk reduction, the establishment of a spatial mapping capability in the planning department and a collaborative research and awareness raising programme into the Palu-Koru Fault (http://voinews.id/index.php/component/k2/item/2109-palu-koro-expedition-unveils-the-great-earthquake-potential-in-central-sulawesi ).

Tadulako University was also about to host its first international conference on Urban Disaster Resilience in November 2018: (http://fatek.untad.ac.id/icudr/)

It’s still early days, and building resilience requires a sustained effort over generations. This combined earthquake and tsunami event has been devastating. This has always been possible in this part of the world but it’s not what you ever anticipate will actually happen. This will set Palu and Donggala back, but it has redoubled our resolve to work with our friends and colleagues there to   look to the future and ensure risk reduction is built into the recovery process.

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Donggala DRR Action Plan Workshop, March 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seismometer in Schools Pilot Launched in Central Sulawesi

During the week 5 to 9 March, StIRRRD team members were based in Palu, Central Sulawesi to launch Indonesia’s first Seismometers in Schools (SIS) programme.  Seismometers in Schools is an education initiative already present in Australia, New Zealand and the United States which involves installing seismometers in schools as tools to increase awareness of seismic hazards and risks.  Information from the seismometers can be analysed by mathematics, physics or geography students to assess earthquakes recorded locally or from around the world.

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Raspberry Shake seismometers are commonly used in school education programmes around the world.

As a part of the StIRRRD programme, the pilot SIS programme has been established in Central Sulawesi province with seismometers installed in four schools and a more sophisticated three component device installed at the University of Tadulako, Palu.  The participating schools are SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani and MAN 1 in Palu City, SMA N 1 Banawa in Donggala and SMA N 1 Bahadopi in Morowali.  Only public schools were selected to be involved in the pilot study.  All installations were undertaken in the first week of March, except for Morowali which will be installed in the coming weeks.

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SMA N 1 Banawa school in Donggala

On Monday 5 March, StIRRRD team members visited all schools, in Palu and Donggala, to begin installing the equipment and meeting the school principals and teachers.  The team were warmly welcomed to all schools with teachers expressing gratitude and excitement that their schools were chosen to be a part of the project.  In the following days, installation of the equipment would be completed in each school and training workshops for teachers to increase their knowledge of earthquake and tsunami risks were undertaken.

Importantly, the project has been supported by a range of Indonesian agencies willing to assist the schools with technical support and further training.  Their commitment was recognised in a MoU signing ceremony on 5 March.  The agencies signing the MoU include:

  • Palu’s local university – Universitas of Tadulako (UNTAD)
  • The provincial office of the national seismic monitoring agency – Kantor Stasiun Geofisika Palu (BMKG)
  • The local emergency management offices – BPBD Kota Palu & BPBD Kabupaten Donggala
  • The provincial office of the national education office – Dinas Pendidikan Provinsi Sulawesi Tengah­­­­­
  • The provincial office of the national Ministry of Religion – Kakanwil Kemenag Provinai Sulawesi Tengah

 

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Principals from SIS schools in Palu and Donggala sign the MoU with other agencies
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Local Palu newspaper report detailing the SIS pilot activity

All agencies were very enthusiastic about the SIS programme and agreed to help with technical assistance, further capacity building for teachers, help with assessing earthquake traces and providing ideas on how students might develop future projects.  This enthusiasm was further reflected by the extensive media coverage the project received during the week in Palu, some which can be found here:

http://www.kailipost.com/2018/03/ancaman-palu-koro-dalam-konteks-sekolah.html

https://paluekspres.fajar.co.id/deteksi-getaran-palu-koro-terpantau-7-seismometer/

https://paluekspres.fajar.co.id/program-seismometer-di-sekolah-ajarkan-tentang-gemp

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Opening ceremony and morning session at SMA Negeri model Terpadu Madani school, Palu

On Tuesday 6 March, the StIRRRD team visited SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani where an initial ceremony was followed by an overview of local seismic hazards and risks and capacity building for teachers and a group of selected students.  This session was largely delivered by Universistas Gadjah Mada (UGM), StIRRRD team members and a representative from LIPI – Indonesia’s Institute of Science.  Teachers and students were highly engaged during the session, while enjoying New Zealand chocolate for answering questions correctly, which was followed by a visit to the recently installed seismometer.  In the afternoon, members of the StIRRRD team led targeted training session for the teachers with input from the agencies noted above.  A demonstration of how the seismometer works by a technician from GNS Science was well received and ideas for future student projects was discussed with teachers.

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The Head of Central Sulawesi BMKG and GNS Science technician, Richard Johnson, demonstrate a seismometer and equipment to the school principals and partner agencies

The same programme was delivered to MAN 1 in Palu City and SMA N 1 Banawa in Donggala on 7 and 8 March respectively.  A highlight was returning to Donggala on Thursday and discovering that their seismometer had already detected its first earthquake the night before!  The last seismometer to be installed in SMA N 1 Bahadopi school in Morowali will happen in coming weeks by UGM staff and technicians assisted by BMKG.

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SMA N1 Banawa school in Donggala recorded their first earthquake on the recently installed seismometer

All of the seismometers are now part of the global raspberry shake seismic network with real time data from each of the devices available here: http://raspberyshake.net/stationview

On Friday 9 March, the team completed the installation of a more sophisticated three-component seismometer at the Universitas of Tadulako (UNTAD).  This device will support future research projects on the seismicity of the area and provide further data for the local Palu-Koro Fault seismic network managed by BMKG.

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The Dean of Engineering from UNTAD with StIRRRD team members Michele and Pak Agung

That morning, StIRRRD team members met with the Dean of the Engineering and faculty staff to sign an MoU between UGM and UNTAD in support of the Seismometers in Schools programme in Central Sulawesi.  There was much discussion on the disaster management international conference that UNTAD will host in November.  The conference will coincide with the final evaluation of the SIS pilot project and StIRRRD team will have a very active presence at this event, including having a key note speaker.

Overall, there was a lot of excitement about the new seismometers and opportunities to increase the capacity of teachers and knowledge of the high seismic risk present in Palu and Donggala.  This interest was reflected with high engagement across social media (Twitter) with the national emergency management ministry (BNPB), the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta and the Universitas of Tadulako regularly liking and retweeting @StIRRRD tweets throughout the pilot deployment.  Globally, organisations such as the Raspberry Shake Seismometer network (based in Panama), Australian SIS project, the IRIS earthquake programme (based in Washington) and the British Geological Survey seismology project were also very engaged by commenting, liking and retweeting our posts all week!

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Twitter activity from @StIRRRD during the installation week