written by Stephanie Ruth Armida and Rafy Ramadhan: Content Writer Interns at Project Child Indonesia
Indonesia is known for its beautiful nature. However, behind Indonesia’s beautiful sceneries, there lurk dangers of natural disaster that can befall us any time. Located in the Ring of Fire, one of the world’s most geologically active areas, our country is prone to geological disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. We are also threatened by hydrometeorological or water related disasters such as floods, landslides, droughts and wildfires. In this article, we are going to discuss three of Indonesia’s most common disasters, which are earthquakes, floods, and landslides. We will also talk about what we should do if we ever have to face them!
Earthquakes, Floods & Landslides
Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical (BMKG) stated that the intensity of earthquakes have increased at the beginning of the year (Thirafi, 2021). This happened due to aftershock of the earthquakes and the faults –cracks, in the earth where sections of plate are moving into different directions. People living in dense locations and/or near active tectonic locations are more likely to suffer the worst impact of the damage. Besides its danger due to the amount of damage it can deal, an earthquake may lead to other disasters such as floods and landslides.
Floods, often caused by heavy downpour in the rainy season, are one of many disasters that are caused by humans most of the time. Poor water drainage, deforestations, and narrowing rivers are some of the many root causes of floods (Rayda, 2021). As discussed in our previous article, extreme weather has increased the intensity of flood and it is getting more difficult to be predicted. Areas affected by floods are often covered by silt and muds. Floods may also contain hazardous materials in the water, such as sharp debris, dangerous chemicals, and sewage that might harm people. Moreover, it can damage facilities and leave affected residents with clean water shortage, no electricity, and high risks of waterborne diseases.
The last kind of disaster is landslides. Landslides are also caused by hydrometeorological phenomena. Oftentimes, they are triggered by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and heavy downpours. Now, we have an increasing number of landslides due to deforestation, climate change, and the conversion of open lands for modern-use purposes (Landslides : FAO in Emergencies, n.d.). Like any other disaster, landslides can cause structural destruction, loss of natural resources and damage to the land. It can also block rivers, hence higher risk of floods.
The direct impacts of said disasters are dire indeed. However, we cannot ignore the indirect (and mostly long-term) impacts of these natural disasters as well. Our economy and society suffer from natural disasters which happen in a significantly high frequency, because our country is prone to natural disasters.
From the economic point of view, devastated infrastructure can lead to poverty due to decreasing flow of income. Rebuilding destroyed infrastructures also suck up a considerable amount of budget from our government from time to time, given the fact that almost half of Indonesia’s districts are affected by natural disasters annually.
From the social perspective, Natural disasters can cause education impairment, since school buildings are damaged and/or used as shelter for residents who are suffering from the phenomena. It can also trigger psychological impact such as trauma and anxiety.
Mitigation & Preparation
Despite the fact of being prone to natural disasters, the infrastructure in our country is not developed enough to be able to withstand the impact caused by them. While it is our government’s job to create sufficient disaster mitigation for its citizens, it is also our own responsibility to be prepared to face any natural disaster, especially those which have high potential to occur in our area.
You can begin by creating a family safety plan and emergency supplies. Look up for disaster safety tips! Even the most simple knowledge like knowing what to do during a natural disaster such as hiding under your desk during an earthquake or running to the highest land near your area during floods might be a difference between life and death.
We recommend you to download BNPB’s Disaster Pocketbook for more knowledge about natural disasters from here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d5A4bATq1VpqSgibS_bWd5JhLrrCpXE5/view
Knowing emergency hotlines to call during a disaster is also crucial should you ever need emergency help! Here are the numbers you can call in our country to call for help:
- Ambulance: 118 or 119
- Police: 110
- Search and Rescue (SAR): 115
- Natural Disaster Officer: 129
Although sometimes natural disasters cannot be prevented, we can still try to save our nature and ourselves by fighting climate change. How? By creating eco-friendly behavior! Go check our previous articles for more helpful information, and as usual, everyone can do good, so do not forget to share this information to everyone!
Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB). (2020). Buku Saku Tanggap Tangkas Tangguh Cetakan Kelima 2020 (Vol. 5) [E-book]. Pusat Data Informasi dan Komunikasi Kebencanaan BNPB. https://bnpb.go.id/buku/buku-saku-tanggap-tangkas-tangguh-cetakan-kelima-2020
Landslides : FAO in Emergencies. (n.d.). FAO. http://www.fao.org/emergencies/emergency-types/landslides/en/#:%7E:text=The%20impact%20of%20a%20landslide,increase%20the%20risk%20of%20floods
Rayda, N. (2021, February 8). The Indonesian government is exploring multiple options to contain the worsening floods, but there are obstacles including climate change and illegal settlements. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/jakarta-flooding-relocation-giant-seawall-anies-baswedan-13864908#:%7E:text=Although%20not%20as%20severe%20as,of%20the%20city’s%20business%20districts.
Thirafi, H. (2021, January 23). (Update) Potensi Multi Bencana Hidrometeorologis dan Aktivitas Kegempaan Meningkat, Masyarakat Diminta Tidak Panik tapi Tingkatkan Kewaspadaan | BMKG. BMKG | Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika. https://www.bmkg.go.id/berita/?p=potensi-multi-bencana-hidrometeorologis-dan-aktivitas-kegempaan-meningkat-masyarakat-diminta-tidak-panik-tapi-tingkatkan-kewaspadaan&lang=ID&tag=apps-info-bmkg