Ability and Experience on Disaster Management in Asean and Japan

Translation of Kompas newspaper Dec 7, 2014 Page 13 about KAPPIJA‐21 National Symposium : Promotion on Community Based Disaster System & Model in ASEAN and Japan

05 May 2015 0 comment


The presence of rapid post‐disaster assistance is required indeed. However, the type of assistance should be adjusted to the conditions and needs of the affected communities. Without knowing and hearing the needs of the affected communities, the assistance would not be useful.

"We seem to know what the (affected) communities need," said Deputy Secretary General of the Indonesian Society for Disaster Management (MPBI), Catur Sudiro, in the National Symposium entitled "The ability and experience of ASEAN and Japan in Disaster Management," in Jakarta, Saturday (12/6). The event was held by Alumni Program of Indonesia‐Japan Friendship at the 21st Century (Kappija‐21) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Ideally, Catur said, the affected communities should be heard and be cared for. He cited on the refugees of Mount Sinabung eruption in North Sumatra, who secretly gave the canned food provided by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) to their livestocks.

The reason, they were fed up of only eating canned food for months, which in the perspective of assistance providers as practical and tasty. The community's demand was simple, which is to eat vegetables."This was missed from our study" said Catur.

Meanwhile, according to a member of Kappija-21 who is also the Chairman of Commission V of DPR (parliament), Fary Djemy Francis, in addition to listening to the communities, the assistance must be preceded by information about the condition.
The questions for the community are also very simple, like what, when, where, or how much. Not asked to do something."After that, the assistance provider can begin to help according to the observation," said Fary during his keynote speach at the seminar.

He mentioned an example, in 2004, there was a landslide of 235 million cubic meters of materials from the slopes of Mount Bawakaraeng that hit Lengkese hamlet, Manimbahoi Village, Gowa regency, in South Sulawesi province. A total of 32 people were killed, of which was responded by the Regency Administration's plan to relocate the surviving residents to the Bellapunrangan village.

There were 21 families willing to move, while 15 families chose to stay at relatives’ houses near Lengkese, and 18 families chose to stay in Lengkese. Two years later, 12 of the 21 relocated families returned to Lengkese.
The consideration, their farming culture did not fit with the environment of Bellapunrangan, which is a coastal region.
One NGO, the Institute for Environmental Observer of Karaeng Puang, facilitated the residents who chose to remain in Lengkese in order to be disaster resilient, with the emphasis on the community’s local wisdom. They are confident that they could avoid disaster if with good preparation. In 2006‐2007, residents built disaster watchtowers from Mount Bawakaraeng every day. "People keep and care for the post on their own" said Fary.

Meanwhile Catur said,"Do not assume the communities are powerless in recovering from a disaster."


Community Empowerment

According to Tia Kurniawan, the Head of Subdivision of Emergency Response of Recovery and Reconstruction of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the communities should be educated to be independent during a disaster."PMI and other institutions can only be targeting as the second, third fastest helper, and so on. The first helper is the community itself," she said.

Nowadays, people tend to perceive themselves as the side that has to be rescued when a disaster, not as a savior. The Vice President of Fast Action Response (ACT), Insan Nurrohman, said, according to ACT’s research together with the Jakarta Consulting Group, when asked who first helped during a disaster, 39 percent of respondents answered the volunteers, 29 percent answered relatives/family. "This perception must be reversed through community empowerment," he said.

Catur added, in addition to building self‐reliance, the local wisdom of each area related with disaster needs to be documented. The goal is to learn from each other how to reduce the risk of disaster. Folklore about smong at the Simeulue Island, Aceh, is an example. Thanks to the popular story amidst the local communities there, the victims which killed by the tsunami in 2004 were "only" 8‐11 people because they know the signs of a tsunami arriving. (JOG)

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