Disaster risk management appears to be a primary concern for the Indonesian society. The country is situated along three active tectonic plate boundaries: the Indo-Australian to the south, Eurasian to the north, and the Pacific plate to the east. Indonesia is also intersected by active mountainous regions, namely the Circum-Pacific and Circum-Mediterranean belts. Additionally, high rainfall, extreme weather conditions, and incomplete drainage systems further contribute to the risk in various areas.
It is essential to recognize that we are residing in an area with a high level of disaster risk. According to data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), there were at least 3,544 natural disaster events in Indonesia in the year 2022. In 2023, the number of incidents increased to 4,940, signifying a rise of approximately 39.39% (BNPB, via dataindonesia.id, 2023).
Forest and land fires were the most frequent natural disasters in 2023, with 1,802 incidents. Floods ranked as the second-largest natural disaster with 1,170 occurrences, followed by extreme weather events at 1,155 incidents and landslides at 579 incidents. These figures exclude droughts, earthquakes, or abrasions.
While these numbers cannot be avoided, they should be anticipated to prevent an increase in the number of casualties. Disaster risk reduction is a proactive step to mitigate these risks. Fortunately, if we can achieve mitigation measures, it would be a positive development.
On December 3, 2023, at 14:54 WIB, Mount Marapi in West Sumatra suddenly erupted, raising its status to level II or alert. This event trapped dozens of climbers, resulting in the reported death of 23 individuals as of December 15, 2023.
Another incident occurred in East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara Province. The eruption of Mount Lewotobi Male elevated its status from level I (Normal) to level II (Alert) starting from December 17, 2023. This event is ongoing, and as of January 17, 2024, approximately 6,179 residents from five villages have evacuated to safer locations beyond the eruption radius.
Apart from geological and volcanological events, hydrometeorological disasters were prominent throughout 2023. These disasters may not be visible, but they directly impact the entire community. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Public Works and People’s Housing (PUPR) released data and infographics on the flood potential in December 2023. A total of 214 infrastructures were at risk of flooding.
The data was updated by the PUPR ministry, revealing flood potential in January 2024. There are 254 infrastructures at risk, including 50 public facilities, 41 national roads (connecting provincial capitals), 36 groundwater sites, and others. The details can be seen in the following infographic.
In a journal titled “Identification of Flood Potential Zones Based on Geographic Information System Using Overlay Method with Scoring in Agam Regency, West Sumatra,” it is mentioned that the potential for flood disasters in Indonesia is significant. This is due to the majority of the ocean conditions, many low-lying areas, and numerous basins. The journal also notes that high rainfall in upstream areas can cause flooding in downstream areas, especially those with lower surface elevations or equal to the average sea level.
Since 2007, through its official website, the Ministry of Public Works and People’s Housing has warned that Indonesia’s coastal areas are highly prone to erosion (https://pu.go.id/berita/bibir-pantai-indonesia-rawan-abrasi). At that time, an estimated 40% of them were damaged due to erosion along the 81,000 kilometers of Indonesia’s coastline. In 2021, the length of Indonesia’s coastline reached 99,083 kilometers, ranking second after Canada with a coastline length of 202,080 kilometers (World Atlas, via katadata.co.id, 2023).
The suspicion was almost accurate but remains disheartening. Coastal management and solutions to climate change seem to have yet to find the right answers. Approximately 20% of Indonesia’s coastline has experienced erosion.
While waiting for positive news and various mitigation efforts, should we just remain silent?
We begin the year 2024 by reflecting on and studying what we have done in Disaster Risk Reduction. This includes its development and the hope to reach a broader audience regarding the importance of public awareness of disasters in Indonesia. There is a positive trend in increasing community capacity for disaster mitigation, as seen in the reduced number of casualties (for more details: https://mediaindonesia.com/humaniora/643727/bnpb-indonesia-dilanda-15-bencana-alam-setiap-hari-di-2023).
The community’s capacity for disaster mitigation needs to be maintained and even enhanced. We must ensure that communities inadequately prepared for disasters do not incur greater losses or result in more lives lost.
Flood Disaster Risk Reduction Socialization Activity at SMAN 1 Dawan (Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo/IDEP)
We engaged in the event “Disaster Risk Reduction Flood Socialization and Disaster Reporting Simulation via DisasterBot” at SMAN1 Dawan, Klungkung, as one way to exchange information and learn about flood disasters, as well as the steps for mitigation and anticipation. The goal of the event was to instill early disaster mitigation education in formal educational settings so that students can act before and after a disaster occurs. This is done to minimize the impact that may occur.
Other participants invited to the event included I Putu Widiada as the head of BPBD Klungkung, Putu Agus Handika Bhayangkara as a representative from Basarnas, I Nyoman Gede Wiryajaya as the Head of Data and Information BMKG Denpasar Region III Denpasar, and I Wayan Rudiarta as the BMKG Supervisor PMG.
All students joking around during the session transition (Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo/IDEP)
Putu Suryawan, the Program Coordinator of IDEP Foundation, served as a speaker for the event. This time, he was not presenting one-way information or delivering many disaster concepts through various definitions.
A total of 56 students actively participated in this event. They not only listened but also shared their experiences during floods. Many also actively participated in discussions about “What is a disaster?”.
This participation and discussion aimed to provide knowledge about the types of threats, vulnerabilities, mitigation efforts, and evacuation routes in their respective schools and residential areas. Training is not always in the form of simulations but also includes knowledge to build preventive planning from each student personally, including building self-capacity to better understand disaster risk reduction efforts from a permaculture zoning perspective.
“Efforts in disaster mitigation must be based on risk assessment by recognizing the types of hazards, sectors that may be exposed, and assessing resilience or vulnerability. If we can calculate the risk, then the efforts made, from before, during, and after a disaster, become much more effective and efficient,” explained Putu Suryawan before concluding the discussion session with the students.
Photo Session at the end of the event with all students and organizers (Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo/IDEP)
Article: Nicolaus Sulistyo © IDEP Foundation