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Bandung Disaster Mini Symposium

On Tuesday 23 April 2019, RDI in collaboration with Coventry University, Faculty of Geological
Engineering Padjadjaran University (UNPAD), and Bandung Institute of Technology organised an event titled “Bandung Disaster Mini Symposium”. This event was held in Padjadjaran University’s Postgraduate building consisting of speakers from RDI, UNPAD, and Coventry University. There are four speakers in total: Dr. Dicky Muslim (UNPAD), Chas Morrison (Coventry University), Aria Mariany (RDI), and Prof.Gavin B. Sullivan (Coventry University). The first speaker was Dr. Dicky Muslim, his presentation was titled: Multidisciplinary Research in Citarum Drainage Basin as Initiative for Disaster Reduction in Bandung. He briefly introduced the body of knowledge of applied geology and its divergence with other body of knowledge and disasters in particular. Furthermore, he elaborated the current situation related to Citarum river, and emphasized that the river is very crucial for Bandung as a crucial financial asset and key for power generation. He then stated that the three zones in Bandung Basin is the most problematic area (upstream area). Flooding from the Citarum River have also been problematic in East Bandung. However, people are reluctant to relocate because they do not want to move from one place to another, and are often provoked by the idea of re-settlement. In addition, Dr. Dicky also elaborated briefly on the Lembang Fault Phenomenon and stated that there’s still debates on the nature of the fault itself, whether it is a normal fault, reverse or thrust fault, or strike-slip/transverse fault. He alsoEmphasized on the importance of making maps available for the public and how it can play a crucial role in raising public awareness. Lastly, Dr. Dicky explained the idea of shifting geological activities in the middle zone of Citarum Drainage Basin from extraction activities to geological tourism and see citarum river not from a morphological perspective alone, but we must also see the role of Citarum River in Fulfilling people’s needs.

The second speaker presenting was Chas Morrison from Coventry University, his presentation was titled: “Community-Led Reconstruction in Post-Earthquake Nepal” in which he explained comprehensively on his previous research experience in Sindupalchowk District, Nepal. Mr. Chas emphasized the importance of including socio, economic, physical, and democratic aspects into the community-led reconstruction programme (CLRP). Mr. Chas also elaborated on the challenges which CLR had faced in nepal, including lack of technical expertise and experts from the authorities, unreliable funds from the government, and the socio-cultural complexity in Nepal’s society (e.g. caste system and diverse ethnic groups). What was surprising and worth highlighting from Chas’s presentation was how after the 25 April 2015 earthquake, there were indications of social transformation, particularly those which involves women empowerment and their involvement in community decision-making. In brief, from his research, firstly he had found that social progress for women is more evident than social progress for other groups (e.g. marginalized groups, youth, caste system, landless groups, etc.). Secondly, he had also found that NGOs and INGOs operating in Nepal are standing still as a barrier which separate the government and communities. Therefore, NGOs and INGOs must realize that they must take part in community-led reconstruction programs, and not act as groups that are on the outside looking in. Lastly, he had also found that shared language is also an important aspect, along with a shared vsion for reconstruction among relevant stakeholders and communities.

As the third speaker, Ms. Aria Mariany presented her topic titled: “Seismic Impact to Urban Housing”. On this opportunity, She elaborated her previous research in Lombok and comparing it with current conditions of disaster preparedness in Bandung, West Java. Major issues which persisted in Lombok is the condition of pathways and roads in settlements. Settlements in Lombok was only equipped with narrow pathways around ther housing complex, dense housing, and contoured locations. Because of these issues, evacuations during disasters are difficult. In addition, housing infrastructures in Lombok still mainly consisted of traditional local materials e.g. bamboo, zinc, wood, stones, etc. which made traditional houses in Lombok vulnerable and poorly prepared for disaster events. Ms. Aria also elaborated that people in Lombok are unwilling to construct brick houses. People in Lombok may generally import materials from Bima, and do not trust the government fully for the procurement of building materials. Next, Ms. Aria proceed by stating an important question; if compared with Lombok, is Bandung Ready to face a major disaster? She then explained briefly on recent preparedness efforts done in Bandung and also the degree of vulnerability and risk particularly in Kelurahan Cigadung and Kelurahan Cigadung, which consisted of dense housing complexes. In her closing statement, she also pointed out steps that can be done to overcome earthquake risks, particularly in these areas.

Picture 1. Durring Presentation (Dr. Gavin B. Sullivan)

The last speaker of the Symposium was Prof. Gavin B. Sullivan which presented the topic of “Seismic Cities Bandung”, which was an ongoing research funded by the British Academy. Firstly he explained briefly on what is Seismic City and what was its aim, which involves the encouragement of awareness and preparedness particularly in places where there have been new dicoveries of faults and there’s no previous collective memory of recent earthquakes within the community. In his presentation, Prof. Gavin also presented several initial thematic analysis and initial findings:

  • Lack of knowledge and limited preparation, but people were interested in preparedness.
  • Previous experience of earthquakes limited to effects of activity attributed to faults other than lembang and ‘not too big’. Communities tend to express concerns towards other faults such as the Cisarua fault, and how it’s susceptible. Communities tend to think that when the earthquake is not too big, they can handle it, but when its big then it’s a problem.
  • Possible impact not well known by many but some fear about the Lembang fault’s potential, others ignore information.
  • What seems to be emerging is that information on the lembang fault did not came from authorities but from mouth to mouth.
  • Participants of the research were open to learning about how faults work and how they could prepare but less than 50% of the people invited did not attend. The focus needs to be on why people are not interested with disaster preparedness events.

Key Discussions from Prof. Gavin Research:
a. Organisation and coordination existed but there’s overlapping roles and unclear responsibilities,
and lack of Bandung disaster office (BPBD)
b. Dedicated budgets have been assigned to disaster risk reduction but more is needed to make s
c. Maintaining up-to-date hazard and vulnerability data, information dissemination needs to be
done differently to get the information where it is going.
d. Education programmes should be looked at as lifelong learning.
e. Funds that are channelled needs to have a sustainable utilisation.
f. People’s attachment to place must also be considered because it seems this factor is important
in the socio-psychological perspective.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A session, and was closed with a group meeting.