No-one involved in the Seismometers in Schools project wanted to see their work put into action as quickly as it was in Palu. In March 2018, three schools in the City of Palu had Raspberry Shake seismometers installed; on 28 September, a 7.5 magnitude quake in the North Sulawesi subduction zone and a subsequent tsunami killed at least 2100 people in Palu City, Donggala and Sigi. Nearly 700 are still missing and close to 80,000 people remain displaced.
A couple of days later, Richard Woods from the StIRRRD team noticed that the Raspberry Shake at the SMA Negeri Model Terpadu Madani (located in the north of the city of Palu) was back online, as power was restored to the school.
The seismometers in the three schools helped to build a picture of what happened that day. The severity of the shaking was obvious, and we can only imagine how terrifying the earthquake must have been.
The first image below shows the seismic trace up until the M7.5 struck just after 6pm. You can see the M6.1 foreshock earlier in the day and the aftershocks in between the two earthquakes. The second image shows the seismometer had power restored just after 12.15pm on 07/10, and the third image shows the UNTAD seismic trace on the 16th of October, interspersed with many aftershocks.
Richard then noticed that the Raspberry Shake located at MAN 1 school in the city of Palu, had also come back online, and like the first image above, the severity of the shaking is very clear.
For StIRRRD program leader Michele Daly and the wider team, the realities of the recent earthquake and tsunami are confronting. It’s one thing to be aware of the destructive potential of these natural hazards, but quite another to see events play out so soon. The StIRRRD team had visited Palu just six months before, and no-one could have predicted having to deal with such severe impacts so soon.
Michele described it as ‘heart-breaking’ to see so much destruction and human cost. But she was also amazed at how rapidly people have mobilised to support each other. She says that going by her experience of the wonderful people of Palu, she is sure this will continue throughout the recovery.
So, what are GNS Science and the StIRRD team doing to help?
The StIRRRD team is part of the response effort, supporting the Indonesian government and in-country partners with their response efforts. GNS Science has many experts in response and recovery following earthquake and tsunami events, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) asked GNS and the StIRRRD team to lead a NZ inclusive approach, providing Palu with technical support in the transition from response to rehabilitation and recovery.
The immediate focus is to support MFAT and local agencies in Indonesia to carry out earthquake damaged building assessments and landslide risk assessment. The StIRRRD team are working with GNS experts and liaising with a variety of NZ and Indonesian partners, and this work is likely to continue in the longer term – with an emphasis on resilience and building back, better.
Sometimes our work for StIRRRD throws up unexpected opportunities to support the communities we work with – not just in our normal resilience projects, either. The story of Rawa Indah school shows what can happen when scientists and communities work together – with a little fundraising help from our friends.
The buildings and grounds of Rawa Indah school were in urgent need of rehabilitation. Take the school yard, for example. The School Principal, Laurensius Pambudi, had previously told us this was a priority project for them, as it is the evacuation meeting point for the entire school in the event of an emergency. The yard is not currently suitable for this purpose, as it is dusty and pitted in the dry season, and becomes very muddy during the rainy season.
Back home in NZ, one of the StIRRRD team members was asked to present to Balclutha Rotary Club about StIRRRD, particularly about the DRR work being undertaken in Seluma. Following this presentation, Rotary offered to donate $500 to Rawa Indah School so they could pave the yard.
Balclutha Rotary supports both local and international projects, particularly in developing nations. In the past they’ve supplied emergency response kits and supported an expert dental and educational support group to work in Cambodia. Rotary member Gabrielle Schou said that the project fitted well with Rotary’s core values, and supporting projects aligned to Rotary’s six areas of focus (includes basic education and child health) is very important.
The StIRRRD team were more than happy to facilitate this donation, and we will continue to look for other opportunities which can help Rawa Indah become more resilient. We made some great friendships within the village through this project, and look forward to seeing their progress in coming years.
Written by Elizabeth Garlick, Michael Goldsmith & Phil Glassey
Following our previous two visits, the StIRRRD team were again in Rawa Indah, Indonesia in July 2018 to build on the work they’ve already undertaken in developing a Tsunami Safe Community Action Plan with locals. This visit was focussed on facilitating a village-wide tsunami evacuation simulation. It involved working with village leaders, local schools, community groups and the district Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) to finalise the arrangements for the evacuation; as well as measure and observe the evacuation itself to get a better understanding of how the locals responded. The team was once again assisted by its experienced project partners – The University of Bengkulu (UNIB), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the National Board for Disaster Management (BPBD). The team was once again assisted by its experienced project partners – The University of Bengkulu (UNIB), Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the National Board for Disaster Management (BPBD).
The day before the simulation we visited Rawa Indah school to hand over the resources developed with them during previous visits. These included framed tsunami evacuation posters for each class, signs for the assembly area, evacuation signs and a large information poster to be displayed in a high-traffic area by the school gate. These resources were much-needed and attracted the attention of many students who were eager to learn tsunami safety information. While at the school, we made final plans for the simulation and encouraged the principal to let all classes participate, even new entrants. Children that know about tsunami hazard and response will go home and educate their families, which in turn leads to safer communities.
The simulation worked well, with around 240 people from the village making their way to the tsunami shelter – 177 of these people were children – with most people arriving by motor-scooter. The simulation started at 9.04 am and most people had arrived at the shelter by 9.30 am. After everyone had gathered, local agencies kept the children engaged with hazard education including songs. PMI distributed food packages and we gave away a ‘grab and go’ emergency bag from New Zealand.
We worked with local agencies to debrief after the simulation and created some action points for improvement. Most people heard a warning, either the siren or kentongan (traditional wooden instrument that makes a noise when struck), which was a great start. The kentongan is robust and reliable and has been used for centuries by locals to warn of threats. It was noted that multiple sources of warnings should be used though, and it was noted that BPBD hope to install a system which can provide official warnings directly to the village in the near future.
Training workshop with local volunteers, to finalise arrangements for the tsunami simulation
After the simulation, we initiated some actions that will have an impact on how ready the community will be in the event of a tsunami. Another positive outcome from this project is that the school has agreed to run the simulation at the start of every school year to keep the information fresh in the children’s minds. The schoolchildren also picked up the evacuation information quickly due to being familiar with the shelter and from the songs previously learnt.
Also, during the week, we undertook a repeat survey about tsunami hazard and response. The survey will give an insight into the effectiveness of our community education programme as well as highlight issues.
In addition to the Community Project work, the team met with BPBD leaders in Seluma District and also in nearby Bengkulu City, to get an update on the DRR activities they have implemented recently, or are planning in the coming year. Both agencies are making good progress, and are building on the original DRR Action Plans they developed as part of the StIRRRD project. Highlights include:
Bengkulu BPBD working with the private sector to formalise access to buildings near the coast, so they can be used in the event of a tsunami warning.
Bengkulu BPBD participating in a large-scale Pacific Partnership Exercise that coordinated a field response to many emergency simulation situations including devastating earthquakes. They were proud of their involvement in this and it has given them further confidence in their response capabilities.
Bengkulu BPBD are hoping to erect a building using sound construction techniques, that would become an example of sturdy design for locals to adopt themselves. The building could also be used as a station for disaster risk reduction training. The StIRRRD team offered help to gain some additional funding for this project.
Seluma BPBD have a number of projects underway. These include adding to their early warning system network, evacuation simulations, and facilitating additional ‘disaster resilient village’ programs.
In addition, some of our team attended a workshop about the Safe Schools programme in Seluma. A short presentation was given regarding the simple-action messages used in New Zealand, such as “drop, cover, hold” and “long or strong, get gone” as well as the emergency ‘go bag’ concept. Some of our insights and experiences of the Rawa Indah School evacuation simulation were also shared.
The StIRRRD team have returned to New Zealand with several action points to work on to keep the progress moving along in Rawa Indah. The team is happy with the progress made by local agencies and the community throughout the project, and especially with how well the schoolchildren responded to the evacuation simulation. Thanks to everyone who generously hosted the team during the 3 project visits, and to the local volunteers who gave up their time for an important community cause.
Following on from our visit in March 2018, the StIRRRD team visited Rawa Indah to engage with the community and stakeholders to further develop a draft Tsunami Safe Action Plan. The team spent 5 days in the village conducting and participating in various village activities, with the help of BPBD (Emergency Management Agency), Seluma and Bengkulu University. Specifically, we
Attended, on invitation, 2 women’s prayer groups and one men’s prayer group and discussed tsunami awareness and preparedness.
Engaged with the local community groups (POLMAS – Community Police, Tagana (Youth) BANSER and KSB) and sought their input into Actions to be taken, within 5 overlapping themes that had emerged from the initial visit, namely; 1) Shelter Management, 2) Evacuation Planning, 3) Local Access, 4) Resilient Infrastructure and 5) Prepared and Knowledgeable Community.
Distributed tsunami awareness and response posters/calendars developed by the team to each household and gifted maps and drone video footage flown on first visit, along with other tsunami preparedness literature and videos.
Attended Friday morning women’s aerobics at the tsunami shelter and were given an opportunity to talk about tsunami preparedness.
Held a meeting with District OPDs (Social, Public Works (PU), Bappeda (Planning), Education, Health, Marine and Fisheries) at the shelter to present the plan and convey the actions in the plan that were their responsibility. Implementing the plan requires a trusted partnership between the district agencies and the village.
Participated in an evacuation simulation with children in years 4-6 from the local school and then spent some time at the shelter discussing tsunami and disaster preparedness.
Facilitated a tsunami/disaster art competition for years 5 and 6 at the school, supplying plywood sheets, paint and some concepts. The artwork produced in a 3-hour session is spectacular, and the children stayed well after school was finished to complete their group projects. The intent is that these will be on display in the tsunami shelter.
The activities culminated in a movie night at the shelter that about 500 people attended. Prior to the feature movies we showed some tsunami safe preparedness videos in Bahasa Indonesian developed by IOTIC/UNESCO, as well as the aerial video of Rawa Indah taken during the first visit. The school artwork created earlier in the day was on display. The mobile cinema was rented from the Ministry of Education, Seluma.
The village head, Pak Rubimanto, expressed his commitment, and that of the village to the plan and restated the intent to help facilitate similar plans in nearby villages also at risk from tsunami. Hopefully the plan and the process will provide a template for the BPBD along with PMI (Indonesian Red Cross) to extend awareness and preparedness.
We are grateful Pak Rubimanto, his family and the villagers who generously hosted us for 5 nights and engaged with enthusiasm. We have developed trusted relationships with community leaders and they are extremely keen to instigate the actions they have identified as best they can. We’ll be following up with progress in July 2018 when we hope to finalise the plan and have a village-wide simulation.
The StIRRRD team was in Rawa Indah, Seluma, Bengkulu Province to initiate a tsunami awareness community project. Rawa Indah is a village of about 2500 people located on the broad coastal plain of Seluma and is at risk from tsunami, with no nearby high ground suitable for evacuation. In 2014, BNPB (the National Emergency Management Agency), with the assistance of international development aid and the National Public Works, built a 16-m high tsunami shelter near the village. Responsibility for the shelter has only recently been passed to the local emergency management agency, Seluma BPBD. Little or no work to improve community awareness of tsunami hazard, possible natural warnings or the function of the shelter has been undertaken, and the Seluma BPBD do not have the capacity to maintain the shelter or carry out extensive consultation. As a result, the condition of the shelter has deteriorated.
This initial visit (27 Feb – 1 Mar 2018) of the StIRRRD team was to get to know the people, gain an understanding of their current level of tsunami awareness, and help them to understand the risk associated with this significant hazard.
Ultimately, the community will develop their own evacuation plan and develop ongoing tsunami awareness centred around better use of the tsunami shelter for village activities. Students from the UNIB (University of Bengkulu) undertook a survey with more than 100 residents, to gauge tsunami awareness and preparedness. With the help of the local Red Cross (PMI), BPBD and UNIB, the team spent a day in the local school discussing hazards, tsunami, preparedness and action with 300 school children as well with the teachers. UNIB also built, and bought with them, a tsunami wave model tank which demonstrates tsunami formation and potential impacts.
University Gadjah Mada (UGM) flew an aerial survey and took video of the village surrounds.
A good relationship has been established with the head of the village Pak Rubimanto, and he and his family, and the villagers generously hosted members of the team for 3 nights. Village leaders are extremely keen to be involved and want to utilise the shelter as best they can, and instigate other awareness and preparedness initiatives that the StIRRRD team will help facilitate.
It is intended that nearby villages with a similar risk from tsunami will also benefit from this project, as it will provide a template for the development of other evacuation plans. By working closely with BPBD and PMI, it is anticipated that the capacity of these agencies to assist other villages will improve.
Phase 2 of the engagement in April 2018 will involve some workshops and meetings with key village groups and responsible agencies and continued engagement with the school. It is also planned to hold an information drop-in session in the tsunami shelter on a Saturday, where the draft tsunami plan can be discussed, followed by a movie night. The third phase, later in the year will include a whole of village evacuation simulation and a repeat questionnaire survey.
StIRRRD team members and representatives from across StIRRRD districts attended the national DRR month event held in Sorong, West Papua on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 October. The Monday morning consisted of an opening ceremony and speeches by dignitaries including an update on the BNPB forward work programme from Willem Rampangilei, Head of BNPB.
During the afternoon, StIRRRD hosted a special session on DRR and international cooperation. Chaired by StIRRRD UGM team members, two sessions were held with a focus on cooperation at the national level and international assistance with DRR implementation in the districts. Presenters at the respective sessions included:
Sumedi Andono Mulyo, Director of Disadvantaged Areas, Transmigration and Rural Areas, BAPPENAS
Richard Woods, Natural Hazards Risk Management Specialist, GNS Science
Lilik Kurniawan, Director Disaster Risk Reduction, BNPB
Presentations from Pak Lilik (BNPB) and Pak Sumedi (BAPPENAS) discussed their respective DRR work programmes. Of note, Pak Sumedi discussed the strong alignment between the StIRRRD programme and BAPPENAS work programme over the next few years. In addition, he highlighted the potential for future collaboration on modelling the economic impact of disasters for cost-benefit analyses using existing New Zealand economic models.
Akris Mohamad Yunus Fattah, Head of BPBD, Donggala
Selupati SH, Head of BPBD, Bengkulu
Drs Zainal Abidin, Head of BPBD, Sumbawa
Henry, BPBD Head of Prevention and Preparedness, Padang
The presentations from BPBD in Donggala, Bengkulu, Sumbawa and Padang provided insights into the strengths and challenges that each district has faced during action plan implementation.On the morning of 24 October, StIRRRD director Teuku Faisal Fathani presented on lessons and good practice from the implementation of early warning systems to detect land movement. Pak Faisal presented alongside the Chairman of Mat Peci, Usman Firdaus and Medi Herlianto, BNPB Director of Readiness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.