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.
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
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.
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).
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 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
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.
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,