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National Disaster Preparedness Day’s Peak Event in Lembang, West Java

On Friday, April 26 2019, RDI with our partners from Coventry University attended
the peak event to commemorate the national disaster prevention day held by the National
Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) in the Indonesian Air Force Command and Staff
College (SESKO AU) located in Lembang, West Java. The event’s main purpose is to raise
awareness and resilience of the local people in overcoming potential natural disasters such
as landslide and earthquake. Another reason as to why BNPB considered Lembang as a
suitable location to hold the event is because of the existence of Lembang Fault that
spreads out for as far as 29 km long throughout the area. It is said that the fault is moving at
around 5 mm each year, a factual sign that shows how it is an active fault and expected to
cause enormous earthquake on a magnitude of 6.0-7.0 in the future. Another finding
provided by the researchers shows that the last powerful earthquake occurred in around
1400 and the next earthquake with similar force is expected to happen in between 170-670
years from there on. It was also reported by the local newspaper on March this year that
the Lembang Fault is entering the energy release phase, which is why BNPB and along with
other disaster prevention and management institutions in the country have envisioned to
spread out more understanding of the potential danger, losses, and casualties caused by the
potential earthquake. Because of this, the participants of the event ranged from
government officials including the disaster management institutions, local and international
NGOs, business actors and as well as volunteers. BNPB believes that such massive and
varied event on raising awareness and understanding better of the threat that natural
disasters could cause is essential since every mentioned actor has their own role that is
interconnected from one another.

The event officially started with the opening speech delivered by the governor of
West Java, Ridwan Kamil. Kamil stated that he received at least three disaster reports per-
day from everyone living within the West Java province, which led him to believe that the
people within the region has to be able to adapt themselves for every time such natural
disasters occur regardless of how impactful they could possibly be. He later supported his
statement by presenting fact that the percentage of someone might manage to save
themselves on their own is still at 30%, while the remaining 70% shows that they still mostly
need the help of others to save themselves when disasters occurred. Therefore, he wished
that through this event and as well as the earthquake simulation that would be presented in
the middle of the event, individuals will have more knowledge as to how to save themselves
when such catastrophic occurrence happens. Kamil also said that the West Java government
will soon release the “West Java Resilience Culture Blueprint” that maps out the vulnerable
zones and guides the society to become more preventive and responsive in handling any
kinds of disaster that might occur in the near future. The government has also expressed
their will to put disaster management and prevention into the school curriculum in order for
more youngsters, especially students, to become more aware and understanding of the
risks in the earliest age as possible. The concern comes from the fact that West Java is the
most populated province in Indonesia and of how three of the most receptive to natural
disasters cities are all located in West Java, with the list goes from (1) Cianjur, (2) Garut and
(3) Sukabumi. After Kamil concluded his opening speech, the floor was taken over by the
head of BNPB, Doni Monardo. Monardo also emphasised on the importance of raising
awareness and understanding of natural disasters to the civil society, especially the
youngsters. Hence, he is supportive of Kamil’s planned of advance policy as to add disasters
prevention into the curriculum. Monardo also adds that Indonesia in general is vulnerable to
at least 11 natural disasters with some of the most commonly occurred in here being
earthquake, tsunami, forest fires, flood and landslide. It has also crossed his utmost concern
how within the last 19 years, Indonesia has claimed the second spot to become a country
with the most casualties caused by the natural disasters. Monardo did not forget the
mention the financial loss of solid 100 trillion Rupiah caused by the natural disasters alone,
which made him believe that the synergy between academicians, business actors, NGOs and
government needs to be balanced out in preventing and managing the natural disasters that
are most likely to come at any time.

Picture 1. During Rescuing

After a series of opening speeches by the governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, and
the head of BNPB: Doni Monardo, the event continued with the process of planting trees by
several officials that were located just beside one of the points of Lembang Fault that had
been mapped out and marked by a pole of red flag just right above it. The tree planting
session was then followed by a presentation of a thorough earthquake simulation
conducted by several national institutions in handling and managing the disaster. More
detailed explanation was also told along through the voice-over which narrated the whole
roleplaying shown in the simulation. It was also said by the head of BNPB that this kind of
simulation is frequently and periodically conducted since it was estimated that by 2018,
Indonesia has lost so many lives from natural disasters. Hopefully, through cyclical
simulation and briefing, Indonesia can reduce the number of casualties as a positive
outcome from people’s preparedness and knowledge of the disasters, whether it is from the
local people or the rescuers side. One thing worth noting from the simulation is the Disaster
Deduction Identification (DDI) method that was shown by the BNPB. It is a method that is
used to identify which victims should be prioritised first after the disaster occurs. The
several groups of people conducting DDI will be given the flags with variation colours of
green, yellow and red to later be put beside the victims that are found in the post-disaster
site. Based on the colour, the rescue team responsible of assisting medical treatment will
sort the victims based on their condition. The ones that are flagged with red will be the first
to be treated since the red flag indicates that they are in critical condition and necessary for
further assistance. Meanwhile the yellow flag signifies the victims that are in moderately
critical condition and the green one goes to the ones that are least critical. This method is
believed to be effective in prioritising help since the medical teams find it easier for them to
consider which patients urgently need to be treated first.

Picture 2. Group Photo

Apart from the activities that had been constructed properly by the coordinators of
the event, there were also a lot of displays found within the location of the event. There are
various camps including exhibition camp, medical assistance camp purposed for the victims
that need to be treated, post-mortem camp, and emergency kitchen and a hospital camp.
The coordinators even went as far as to prepare both house displays, with both houses each
being resistance and vulnerable to earthquake, so the spectators will be able to witness how
important it is to have strong and foundation for a house in the event of disaster that may
come at any given time. All other aforementioned camps were essential as the
complementary of the earthquake simulation conducted halfway through the event, except
for the exhibition camp which appears to be the largest out of all in size. The purpose of the
exhibition camp is to visually inform the attendees, especially those who are not part of the
BNPB, various of things related to disasters. There are number of stalls within the exhibition
camp, from the ones related to the housing, actual visual presentation of area in Indonesia
vulnerable to natural disasters, to tools that are essential for evacuation including the video
presentation that showed how the rescuers do their job in the event of disasters. The event
also provided such detailed visual presentation of the tools, such as huge rubber boat, several portable generators that are essential for electrical power, designated boots, bags
and rescue suits that are water resistant, torch, ropes, goggles, and so many more. The tools
were scattered around within the stall compound and there really were a lot of them that it
got us thinking how we might take some tools for granted under non-disastrous
circumstances. The video simulation of evacuation was also shown in the monitor, in hope
for more people to be more ready and understanding of the situation should they one day
have to go through disaster and evacuation after. In addition of what has been mentioned
before, the exhibition camp also had a stall related to the housing planning in terms of its
foundation, including what materials are suitable to build an earthquake resistance house
and proper placement of the instruments for the house, for example hinges, woods, and
even bricks. Seeing how much of an importance these are all, the attendees of the event
were actually encouraged to drop by the camp to look around and understand every bit of
visual information related to the natural disasters especially on earthquake.