Category Archives: News

Earthquake hits Lombok – some reflections from the StIRRRD Team

On Sunday 5 August 2018 at 7.46 pm (local time) a powerful, magnitude 6.9, earthquake hit the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing at least 250 people and caused damage in neighbouring Bali.

This was the second deadly quake in a week to hit Lombok. A July 29 quake killed 17 people and damaged hundreds of houses, some of which collapsed in last Sunday evening’s quake, killing those inside. Poor construction techniques used for houses is a big issue for Indonesia and requires significant education and capacity building amongst the community.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told a news conference that damage was “massive” in northern Lombok, and in several districts, more than half the homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Although none of the New Zealand based team members are in Indonesia currently, Michele Daly (Project Director of StIRRRD) said that Mataram City on Lombok Island is in the thick of the earthquake’s impact zone. Mataram City is one of the StIRRRD case study cities and is in the West Nusa Tenggara province.

Mataram City in relation to Bali and epicentre

Image: Lombok and Mataram City in relation to the quake’s epicentre. Tremors were felt across the neighbouring island of Bali (Source: BBC)

On hearing about the quake, the team’s immediate concerns turned to the people in Indonesia, and especially those who the StIRRRD team work closely with within the local Emergency Agency and other government Agencies and the University of Mataram. Due to the quake’s size, many of them and their families have been badly impacted.

Staff from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta visited Mataram City to undertake building damage and community vulnerability assessments, and sent through photos that show the extent of damage around the University of Mataram’s campus, see below:

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Structural damage Golden Palace Hotel, Mataram
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Structural damage engineering Faculty University of Mataram
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Non -structural (ceiling) damage University of Mataram

Mataram City is at risk from a range of natural hazards including floods and extreme weather, drought, landslides volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, and due to high population density and poor construction methods, large scale events affect many people.

Phil Glassey, a Disaster Risk Reduction Scientist at GNS Science, reflected on the StIRRRD team’s visit to Gol Village in North Lombok in 2014. The team observed several houses that had been damaged or were being rebuilt after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake the year before, so the impacts from the recent quakes will take a long time for communities to recover from.

While a tsunami was not observed following last Sunday’s quake, this is a potential hazard due to the Mataram’s proximity to the ocean. The Lombok Strait is located on the City’s western margin and the Sunda Trench, to the south of Mataram, experiences large earthquakes capable of generating tsunamis.

Dr John Ristau, a seismologist at GNS Science comments:

The magnitude 6.9 Loloan, Indonesia earthquake was a reverse faulting earthquake at a depth of 31 km.

Reverse thrusting fault

Image Credit: California geological Survey

In this area the Sunda plate to the north subducts beneath the Indonesian Arc, and the mechanism of the earthquake is consistent with reverse-faulting on the Indonesian Arc thrust.

The Pacific Island arc from Samoa to Indonesia is one of the most seismically active regions on Earth, and earthquakes of this size are not unusual. In the region within about 500 km of the epicentre there have been at least 15 earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 and above in the last 10 years.

Earthquakes of this size will produce significant aftershock activity. However, plate interface earthquakes tend to have less vigorous aftershock sequences than shallow crustal earthquakes of comparable size.

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.

Matano 5.7 10km 24-05-2017
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

poso earthquake
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.

StIRRRD hits Bengkulu TV

Disaster Risk Reduction was the feature for the Selamat Pagi, Bengkulu TV breakfast show on the morning of Tuesday 24 November, 2015. Prof Iman Satyarno and Phil Glassey from the StIRRRD team, along with Ibu Lena from the Bengkulu City Emergency Management Office (BPBD)  and Ibu Erna Sari Dewi the head of the City‘s parliament (DPRD), were guests on the 1 hour interactive TV chat show from 8 – 9 am on RB (Rakyat Bengkulu) TV, the Bengkulu Province broadcaster.

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From right – Phil Glassey (GNS Science – StiRRRD), Prof Iman Satyarno (University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) – StIRRRD), Ibu Erna Sari Dewi (DPRD), and Ibu Lena (BPBD),  on the Selamat Pagi Bengkulu show.

The TV show started by introducing Bengkulu as one of the regions in Indonesia that has a quite high disaster index as noted by the National Agency for Disaster Reduction (BNPB). Some effort has been made by Bengkulu City Government to minimise the risk but many more activities still need to be implemented. Some video clips of what Bengkulu City Government and StIRRRD have done so far were also shown during the broadcast.

It was discussed that to effectively reduce disaster risk requires that the stake holders such as the community itself, the local government, the local university, and the local NGOs to work together. Each has its own role and the local university (University of Bengkulu) will support with its research and technology with back up from UGM and GNS Science. One example of technology that can be used to reduce the risk of buildings from earthquake is by using base isolation technology.

The role of DPRD is considered very important as it is the one who prove all the legal aspects and the budget required to carry out activities to reduce the disaster risk. The head of Bengkulu City DPRD explicitly stated that she will do her best to get the support of parliament for any disaster risk reduction activities.

One viewer called the show saying that he supported the StIRRRD activity in Bengkulu City and thanked UGM and GNS Science for their help. He also requested more socialisation about disaster risk reduction program in Bengkulu City, and asked for more signs for tsunami evacuation and simulation drills so that the community is ready.

The StIRRRD team were back in Bengkulu City to facilitate the BPBD and other local government departments to finalise a Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan with all stakeholders in a one day workshop, and present that plan to the local parliament for provisional approval. The Plan has been developed over a period of 6 months and the process included an initial 2 day workshop in April 2015 and a comparative study visit to New Zealand in June 2015.

National DRR Events in Solo, 16-18 October 2015

Members of the StIRRRD team attended the Indonesian National DRR Awareness Event held over 16th-19th October 2015 in Solo, Central Java.

In 2009, the UN agency UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) established October 13th as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. This provides an opportunity for countries to promote the culture of disaster risk reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

In Indonesia, a focus on DRR has become part of the national DRR agenda and events of some shape or form have been held every year since 2011 – Yogyakarta (2011), Yogyakarta (2012), Mataram (2013) and Bengkulu (2014). This year (2015) it’s Surakarta’s (Solo’s) turn to host the event.

Entrance to the DRR Exhibition at Benteng Vasternburg, Solo
Entrance to the DRR Exhibition at Benteng Vasternburg, Solo

Thousands of people attended the series of events over the weekend which included opening and closing ceremonies, 24 special sessions, 8 side events, 3 working sessions, and an exhibition which gave hundreds of organisations and local agencies a chance to showcase the work they were doing in disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

The StIRRRD programme hosted a Special Session which was attended by the NZ Ambassador to Indonesia (H.E. Dr. Trevor Matheson), the Governor of Central Java (Ganjar Pranowo), the Rektor of Gadjah Mada University (Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati), the Chief Executive of GNS Science (Dr. Mike McWilliams) as well as senior Indonesian Government officials, Dody Ruswandi (BNPB) and Suprayoga Hadi (KDPDTT).

Panellists at the StIRRRD Special Session chaired by Professor Dwikorita Karnawati, Rektor of the University of Gadjah Mada.
Panellists at the StIRRRD Special Session chaired by Professor Dwikorita Karnawati, Rektor of the University of Gadjah Mada.

There was much spirited discussion from the audience, who raised issues ranging from the consideration of disabled persons in DRR planning, to difficulties with the rules around the use of contingency funds after a disaster. One thing that emerged from the discussions was the need to ‘make a start’. With long lists of tasks and limited budgets, the DRR path can be overwhelming. It’s important to remain focused, prioritise the work that’s needing to be done and take one step at a time.

The StIRRRD team also had a booth in the exhibition space which showcased the StIRRRD programme through videos and the UGM developed early landslide warning system. Our booth was fortunate in that the Governor together with the NZ Ambassador made a point of stopping at the booth and discussing the work featured.

The StIRRRD booth at the Exhibition. Prof. Faisal Fathani and Rektor Dwikorita Karnawati ready to explain the University's landslide EWS and StIRRRD programme.
The StIRRRD booth at the Exhibition. Dr. Faisal Fathani and Rektor Dwikorita Karnawati ready to explain the University’s landslide Early Warning System and StIRRRD programme.

The very high level of participation in the event and the commitment shown by participants at the working and special sessions bodes well for the future and we hope that DRR ‘takes off’ and gets the priority it needs to have across all districts and provinces in Indonesia.

More information about the event and the ‘Solo Declaration’ can be found at

http://2015.peringatanbulanprb.net/

H.E. Dr Trevor Matheson, NZ Ambassador to Indonesia, addressing the audience at the StIRRRD Special session.
H.E. Dr Trevor Matheson, NZ Ambassador to Indonesia, addressing the audience at the StIRRRD Special Session.
StIRRRD Special Session participants get into the spirit of the event!
StIRRRD Special Session participants get into the spirit of the event!