Part of the StIRRRD team was recently back to Mataram, in the island of Lombok, in the West Nusa Tenggara province. Last year’s introductory visit highlighted main issues around vulnerability to coastal erosion, floods, earthquakes and tsunami. This year, we came back to run a DRR Action Plan workshop with our local BPBD partners, officials and local university. Aside the usual suspects from UGM, GNS Science and NZ MFAT, the StIRRRD team was joined by former-GNS tsunami expert Gegar Prasetya and flood expert James Flanagan from the Wellington Regional Council.
As part of the combined KPDT-StIRRRD workshop on Human Recovery Needs Assessment and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) held in Yogyakarta, 24-26 November, we visited examples of DRR in action at a community level. The countryside around the active volcano of Merapi (see Map) is a very process active environment with many lahars and debris floods filling the river channels. There are about 270 gravel entrapment dams on the rivers running off the mountain and extraction of gravel is a large local industry.
It feels like we’re now up and running here with our programme. We’ve completed our first group of Introductory Visits and met with well over 150 people in the districts we visited – Palu, Donggala, Mataram, Bengkulu, Padang and Pesisir Selatan.
Near Bengkulu, in Sumatra (see map), we visited a massive concrete construction in the process of being built. It is located in a heavily populated flat area about a kilometre from the coast. This is going to be the local safe haven for people to escape to when a tsunami threatens. It is a huge structure (see video) that towers above the surrounding sprawl of single story buildings.
During our visit to North Lombok, we went on a field visit to a small ‘sub village’ called Gol, near Medana in the Tanjung sub district.
About a year ago, Gol village suffered badly during a relatively small (M5.1) earthquake. 160 houses were completely destroyed by the ground shaking, which was described as mostly a single jolt that was all over in about 5 seconds. A total of about 6000 other houses were destroyed in the surrounding district.
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.
The StIRRRD team was en-route to Jakarta when it occurred,
The StIRRRD team arrived in Palu on 9 November 2014 to kick-off the StIRRRD Activity. Palu is the capital of the Province of Central Sulawesi and is quite a large city with a population of about 350,000. The active Palu-Koro Fault has shaped the landscape, with earthquakes, landslides, and debris flows a common occurrence.
With a population of 250 million and frequent natural disasters, Indonesia has had to rely on international aid to help it recover from natural disasters numerous times. Its economic growth has also suffered repeatedly. To combat this, the Indonesian government is taking action to reduce losses from natural disasters and to strengthen community resilience. It has made local governments responsible for managing hazards and risks. However, the ability of provincial and district governments to achieve this varies widely.