Integrating Social and Physical Perspectives of Mitigation Policy and Practice in Indonesia
Earthquakes, tsunami, landslide and volcanic eruptions occur frequently in Indonesia. The frequency of events combined with high population and widely varied culture, differing levels of education and knowledge of natural hazards, as well as varied income, combine to give the country a high risk for natural disaster. Communication in hazard zones is affected by a number of factors such as: differing terminology and perceptions of hazards by the public, scientists, and disaster managers; how scientists and emergency managers communicate information; and how effectively the media transfers the information to the public. Communication is also complicated by culture, social factors and a wide variety of local languages. In Indonesia, disaster mitigation efforts at the national level are coordinated by National Disaster Management Agency; whereas, provincial and regional disaster agencies are responsible for managing within their domains and in most cases local authorities are responsible for specific mitigation actions, such as evacuations. Transferring hazard information is an important process in mitigation. In order to obtain efficient communication with the public, trusting relationships between scientists and communities are required. An understanding by scientists and emergency managers of local culture, local languages and people’s character facilitates communication and contributes to trust. In addition, the media used for information can contribute significantly to improving communication. Hazard communication also aims to improve the capacity of communities through enhancing their knowledge and strengthening of their mitigation institutions. In hazard zones, effective mitigation requires participation and community empowerment with activities before, during and after disasters. A lesson learned from numerous volcanic eruptions in Indonesia is that each volcano has a different character, based not only the physical characteristics of eruptions but also on geographic, social and cultural features. These features result in different responses of people during crises and they influence the way scientists and government agencies communicate and deal with the process of evacuation and repatriation.
KeywordsNatural hazards Hazard communication Information transfer Lessons learnt Community capacity
We would like to thank to the Director of Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia for providing chance to us to involve in many activities in pre-disaster and during crisis. We are also grateful to John Pallister of the USGS, for provide fruitful comments, and in the preparation and editing of the manuscript.
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