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.
A recent GNS Science project involved a small team of Maori community leaders visiting the Agam Regency in West Sumatra, Indonesia.
The purpose of the journey was to exchange cultural knowledge and experience of natural disasters between representatives of Maori and the local Minangkabau people of Agam . Maori participants included Tui Warmenhoven and Jean Palmer of Ngāti Porou and Robyn Rauna, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri all from the Gisborne District, and Joe McLeod of Te Pringa O Te Awaikairangi in Lower Hutt. Accompanying the visitors were Phil Glassey and Julian Thomson from GNS Science, Dr Megan Collins, a musicologist who has extensive knowledge of the local Minangkabau culture indigenous to Agam, along with Drs Esti Anantsari and Arry Retnowanti from University of Gadja Mada (UGM).
After a traditional ceremonial greeting by the Regent, the first location of our visit was the Tiku community on the Agam coast. The people here depend largely on fishing for their livelihoods. They are also subject to a serious tsunami hazard as the coastline faces a major plate boundary fault.
We were introduced to a group of local women who had taken steps towards self-empowerment and community resilience through micro businesses related to fishing. This had different aspects, including economic, educational and disaster planning elements.
The women showed us how they had developed dried seafood products, which they sell under the label, ‘Beautiful Coral’, that can be stored long term which added value to the fish that were caught by the men in the community.
This local lady lived nearby. Although her husband died some years ago, as a couple, they had purchased land together, which she has now been able to develop with the assistance of Jemari Sakato, a local NGO supported by Oxfam. They gave her some chickens and a couple of goats. Over time she has expanded her livestock and, along with selling coconuts and caring for the neighbours cows, she has become financially independent. She is able to afford micro-insurance that protects her livelihood in case of a natural disaster.
There were many cultural treats for our group during our visit. Here is a performance of the Shi’a Islamic music called Tambuah Tasa (bass and snare drum ensemble), from Bukik Malintang, with dancers from the randai theatre group ‘Santan Batapih’. The drumming performance was incredibly powerful.
Next we headed inland and stopped at a village that had been designed and built in a Sumatran jungle clearing to house people who had been impacted by a large earthquake in 2009. There were roughly 120 identical houses, along with a mosque and community centre. The village is more or less ready, but yet to be occupied.
We then travelled on to Lake Maninjau. This is a dormant volcanic crater (caldera).
The people living on its shores rely on fishing also. The photo shows the nets used for intensive fish farming.
Because the sides of the crater are so steep, they are subject to many landslides that endanger the locals. This is one that we drove across and must have been very recent. The road had not yet been properly repaired.
These signs indicate evacuation routes down to the lake shore in case of an emergency.
From the lake we made our way to to Canduang and a traditional house called a Rumah Gadang, where we had been invited to stay the night. The traditional architecture of the roof is typical of the Padang area. The points represent buffalo horns from a legend in which a buffalo saved the local minangkabau people from invasion by the Javanese.
In Canduang we were again welcomed with by the Pasambahan dance, which this time included silek martial arts, demonstrated by senior masters. The two men were sparring with knives.
We shared a community meal inside the big house, which belongs to Mrs Zulharty and her extended family.
Afterwards, the team where treated to a performance of Saluang jo Dendang (flute and voices). Megan Collins also gave a performance on the rabab Pasisia Selatan (fiddle from the South Coast) singing the opening of a kaba narrative that was much appreciated by the local audience.
The Rumah Gadang is a meeting space with several bedrooms at the back. Communities in this area are based on small extended family units that live in each Rumah Gadang, and the family structure is matrilineal. Women have the main authority in the family and the oldest woman in the family owns the house. Her daughters each have a bedroom allocated and when they marry, their husband moves in to the house with them.
Here Jean and Robyn sit with the matriarch of the household , who is highly respected and is 92 years old.
Our next visit was up on to the slopes of Mount Marapi, a volcano that actively threatens surrounding settlements. In this photo it is seen from the town of Bukittinggi.
We were welcomed to Lassi village, on Mount Merapi, by the local disaster management group ‘Marapi Alert’ who demonstrated their katentong bamboo ‘clappers’. These make a very loud drumming noise when the handle is pushed back and forth, and are used as an alarm system to relay warnings of volcanic activity from village to village. Cellphones are also used.
Edi is the local co-ordinator for disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities in Lassi village. Here he explains the local volcanic hazards and about some of the projects that are used to develop local resilience and safety.
A powerful display of traditional martial arts from two teenage girls accompanied by boys playing the Tambuah Tasa drums at Sungai Pua, Mount Merapi.
Mr Datuak Mangkato Saripadois a master craftsman of the West Sumatran talempong gongs. His family has been making these classical instruments for nine generations. exports them all over Indonesia and Malaysia.
Mount Singgalang is the second large volcano that looms over Bukittinggi.
On our final day we visited Institute Seni Indonesia (ISI) Padang Panjang, a Tertiary Arts Institute. We learnt how performers of local music include stories of natural disasters that give information about the particular impacts they had on the lives of people. These stories are even woven into modern pop music and include recent events such as the damaging Padang earthquake of 2009 and flash floods in Kambang in 2011. Tui Warmenhoven and Jean Palmer give a talk on how knowledge of natural disasters in embedded in Maori traditional stories of the creation of Aotearoa.
Mrs Susasrita Loravianti, Mr Rafiloza from ISI and Megan Collins gave talks about West Sumatran music and dance, indigenous knowledge and disasters.
In this photo L to R: Tui Warmenhoven, Jean Palmer, Robyn Rauna and Joe McLeod
Strengthened Indonesian Resilience – Reducing Risk from Disasters