Preparation with the KMPB team before the disaster simulation begins
At 2:00 PM, the atmosphere in Tunagan village was as usual. All residents were going about their activities in their homes. Some tended to their shops, watched TV, or cooked in their kitchens for their families. Just 30 minutes later, residents still indoors rushed outside. They were seen running as the earthquake bell and sirens were sounded. A father was looking for his child, a mother was carrying her baby, and several others were trapped under building debris. There were 80 severely damaged houses, three partially damaged mosque buildings; three reported missing individuals, and seven people with injuries ranging from severe to minor.
This scenario represented the earthquake simulation for the residents affected by the November Cianjur Earthquake. The activity occurred on August 27, 2023, in Tunagan Village, Wangunjaya Village, Cugenang Sub-district, Cianjur Regency, West Java. This simulation was an effort by the residents to build preparedness independently. This simulation is a proactive step to reduce disaster risks in the event of another disaster.
The simulation was attended by nearly 300 residents from three neighborhood units (RT). The participation was well-balanced, including women and men, adults, and youth. Even children were enthusiastic to join. Besides IDEP and KUN+, various entities involved in disaster management in Cianjur Regency also participated, such as the Disaster Resilience Volunteers (Retana), the Community Security and Order Maintaining Police (Bhabinkamtibmas), Village Heads, Social Welfare Section Heads (Kasi Kesra), Community Health Centers, and journalist colleagues.
First aid was provided to victims trapped under building debris
Observing the situation, the teams within the Community Disaster Response Groups (KMPB) of Tunagan Village immediately took action according to their assigned roles after ensuring their safety and that of their families, directing the residents around them to safer locations.
Afterward, the Early Warning and Rapid Assessment Team directed the residents to evacuation points. At the same time, the Shelter, Clean Water, and Sanitation Team set up evacuation tents in Baleriung and its vicinity. Upon receiving information about injuries, the First Aid Team quickly combed the area to provide assistance and evacuate victims to medical posts. The Public Kitchen Team was also seen preparing food and drinks to distribute to the residents arriving at the evacuation points. Meanwhile, the Command Post and Logistics Team began collecting and recording information quickly gathered by the aforementioned teams. This included data on injured, deceased, and missing victims. The KMPB leader coordinated all of these actions.
Apart from the residents gathered in Baleriung for safety, children were encouraged to entertain each other by occasionally singing in a large circle. This was crucial in ensuring safety and comfort, reducing fear and trauma.
While KMPB worked on a swift response to the earthquake, various parties arrived to assess the situation and gather information. The Disaster Resilience Volunteers (Retana) were seen approaching the Command Post and Logistics Team to collect data and closely assess the residents’ needs. Journalists followed to confirm detailed disaster impacts for prompt reporting, considering the challenging road access to Tunagan Village. The Community Security and Order Maintaining Police (Bhabinkamtibmas) were also seen gathering information about the post-earthquake situation. The Cianjur Earthquake Disaster Simulation lasted until 5:00 PM.
Residents seeking safety in Baleriung Tunagan Village, which served as the Disaster Command Post
IDEP Program Coordinator Putu Suryawan stated that the earthquake simulation in Tunagan Village was the culmination of disaster risk reduction activities. Before the simulation, residents participated in four days of Focused Group Discussions (FGD), followed by four days of capacity-building activities for resident representatives who were previous victims of the Cianjur earthquake. Through this process, residents agreed to form the KMPB to engage other residents in emergency disaster response to mitigate the risk of casualties.
“There are many activities carried out here. It starts with mobile health posts covering several villages, including Tunagan Village. Then, there’s the distribution of educational trash bins for waste management, guidance, and capacity-building related to Earthquake Safe Houses. Additionally, there’s education in sustainable agriculture through Family Backyard Gardens with a Permaculture approach, enabling the community to become more resilient and self-reliant, especially regarding food,” he explained.
For four training days, residents were taught about disaster risk reduction, rapid assessment during disasters, first aid and disaster victim evacuation, clean water and sanitation, emergency post and logistics management, Community Disaster Response Groups (KMPB) establishment, and earthquake simulation preparation.
“In the capacity-building for Disaster Risk Reduction, we hold a simulation that starts with Focus Group Discussions (FGD), beginning with planning evacuation routes, creating maps, coordinating residents across neighborhood units, and then conducting emergency response training by forming the Community Disaster Response Groups (KMPB) in Tunagan Village. Through this training, we hope that the 30 individuals involved will become pioneers, making Tunagan even more resilient and stronger in facing future disasters,” he added.
The training series held throughout the program, which will conclude in December of this year, is an effort to support residents with the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary for effective recovery processes. With a focus on resilience, sustainability, and community empowerment, the collaboration between IDEP and KUN+ is expected to leave a sustainable impact, enabling Cianjur to rise more vital and more resilient than before.
Article & Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo © IDEP Foundation