Preparing for disasters in Indonesia
Act for Peace and their local partner Church World Service (CWS) are working with the local community in Rano to strengthen their resilience to climate and disasters.
Since 2018 CWS has – together with the District Social Welfare Agency, Disaster Mitigation and Emergency Response Unit and a civil society organisation – worked with people in Rano to establish a Village Disaster Response Team to assess risks, create early warning systems and develop a disaster response plan.
In villages like Rano where modern early warning systems are not readily available, the Team adopted the use of a traditional burglary and fire alarm system called Kentongan. The Kentongan, made from bamboo or wood, is loud, reliable and familiar, making it a perfect instrument to use in rural Indonesia. To alert people of disasters, villagers hit the Kentongan from one household to another, creating a chain of noises.
Through capacity-building activities and consultations, an evacuation plan and map were developed, and families were trained on evaluation procedures. To help reduce risk, families planted bamboo and palm trees along riverbanks and main roads, reducing soil erosion and mitigating against landslides during rainy season.
Recalling the 2016 landslide experience, which took with it houses and gardens, Karaeng, the village Disaster Preparedness Team leader said “Everyone was running around, unsure of safe places to go. No one was sure of exactly what was happening. Since no warning system existed, evacuation was unorganised.”
Now, Karaeng observes that families are informed and empowered to act according to their evacuation plans.
This work is supported through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).