Category Archives: Natural Hazards in Indonesia

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.

Risk Reduction Action Planning in Donggala

The StIRRRD team were back in Donggala this week on our third visit, supporting the local disaster management agency in its final stages of developing an action plan aimed at reducing risk. Many stakeholders joined the discussion and there will be follow-up workshops to fine-tune the details next week.

The plan is an attempt to coordinate risk reduction activities across different local government work units: development planning, public works, health, disaster management, education, agriculture, environmental management, etc. It also involves and is supported by the local university, Tadulako University, and NGOs.

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Workshop participants listen to Dr Agung Setianto from Gadjah Mada University.

The plan was presented to Donggala’s parliament which generally supported the workplan. We hope that greater priority will be given to DRR and a greater budget allocated as a result. A robust debate was had about the role deforestation and aggregate mining were having on increasing risk, particularly increasing the frequency of landslides, flooding and coastal erosion. It was great to see the awareness of these issues and local government debating ways of managing these problems. The proof will be in changes over time, one step at a time.

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Presenting the Action Plan to Donggala Parliament.

 

The team also took the opportunity to meet with colleagues from Tadulako University, who are an important stakeholder and who will help local government tackle the DRR challenges in the district. Tadulako are taking initiatives to develop capability in risk modelling and are involving students in capturing building asset data in Palu on tablets in order to better understand the vulnerability of different types of buildings to natural hazards. See an earlier blog on Riskscape training.

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With colleagues from Tadulako University

 

Seluma – observing hazard and risk issues in the field – by Kate Crowley

As part of the DRR Action Plan workshop held in Seluma, 25–26 August 2015, we had a half-day field visit organised by the local emergency management office (BPBD). It was an opportunity for them to show some of the hazard and risk issues they face. Our party consisting of local government staff and university researchers, set off from Pasar Tais just after 8 am and travelled towards Pasar Seluma on the coast. Soon the tarmac road ran out and gave way to a rolling dirt track worn to rubble, which took us through a cross section of Indonesian life from the bustling town to the gentle padi fields. But the watery green terraces are slowly being eaten by groves of palm oil. Busy villages line the road, hinting at the thousands of people who live in this area near the coast. Initially hidden by the palms a great expanse of beach opens out. Here, we are provided an informative presentation by the head of the Preparedness section of the BPBD, Aziman. He describes how they have recently mapped the tsunami hazard in this region and will be using this map in risk reduction planning going forwards.

BEACH

He expresses his concerns that although the national government have built a tsunami shelter, it can hold only 3,000 people. There are many villages that line the 70 km of exposed coast of Seluma and he estimates that they would need 10 tsunami shelters to sufficient provide a safe refuge for them all. The drive from Pasar Tais to the beach is across broad flat coastal plain, which makes tsunami evacuation challenging. Vertical evacuation is a sensible option, but the lack of multi-storey buildings means that purpose built structures, although expensive, are the only option.

Following a ‘bread crumb’ trail of tsunami evacuation signs our dusty convoy travelled on to the purpose built tsunami shelter.

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Exploring this large structure it becomes clear that it is purpose built. It is a solid, open structure and a ramp and broad stairs enable those who are frail, young or disabled to access the higher floors. Toilets are provided on the third floor and solar panels are in place to provide lighting at night. This is an impressive undertaking, following a national standard and is very similar to the one observed in Kota Bengkulu.

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However, the local emergency managers are still waiting for an official handover of the building from the national government before they can start using the building and implementing their community awareness plans. The building could be used as a local community centre, a market, or even a school and this would enable the community to become familiar with the structure and put it to good use.

Click the links here for a videos of a similar shelter in Kota Bengkulu, under construction and finished.

The aim of this second phase is to support the local community to be resilient, enabling them to identify the warning signs of a tsunami and know where to go and when. This outreach is aligned with support for their livelihoods under the “Resilient Village” government program.  It is a holistic approach that aims to improve the lives of those living in the area now and in the future.

SHELTER TALK

Tsunami is not the only hazard that impacts this area. The workshop participants have also identified floods, earthquakes and landslides. Participants noted that they are used to the frequent small earthquakes that shake the surrounding countryside, and they rank earthquakes as the biggest threat. The fear of ‘the large one’ is real.

Our final stop demonstrates the power of a frequent and rapid onset hazard – flooding. We visit a small village that last month woke to find devastation on their door step. Overnight heavy rainfall upstream, in the “dry” season, caused the near-by wide and shallow river to swell and overtop its banks. Flood waters up to 4 m in depth swept through the palm oil plantation and three villages were flooded. Despite the flood occurring rapidly, over only 2 hours, no one was hurt but many lost their belongings.

The field trip provided an insight into this districts progress towards resilience. Just like the road we travelled together today, the path of disaster risk reduction is at times rough and slow but the journey is always worth it.

Molucca Sea Earthquake

The magnitude M7.1 earthquake located in the Molucca Sea yesterday reminded us of the hazards faced by the Indonesians on a daily basis. Fortunately, at a depth of 46 km, it seems it caused little damage. The closest large city was Mandano which experienced earthquake shaking at about MMIV according to the USGS.

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The StIRRRD team was en-route to Jakarta when it occurred,

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