Four Presidential Directives for Improving Disaster Management in Indonesia

Background

According to the Head of BNPB (Indonesian Disaster Management Agency), Lieutenant General Doni Monardo, there were 3.523 disaster occurrences in 2020. It means, around 9 disasters were happened everyday. 

The impact of those events were staggering. It caused 1.183 people died and 22,8 bilion rupiahs per year for the economic losses.

Those numbers shows that nobody can face the disaster alone. Especially when we are dealing with the current event, namely COVID-19 pandemic while at the same time various disasters are also happened.

However, Doni, said that Indonesia shows the ability to handle both disaster and pandemic impacts with the effort for recovering the economy. 

It has been a year now since the first case of COVID-19 were announced in Indonesia. This can be a good momentum for evaluating the whole process in managing the pandemic and disasters. This is the time for examining the good work, and sharing success stories, while at the same time and improving the disaster and crisis management. 

With such a spirit, the national meeting for disaster management was held in Jakarta from 3 to 9 of March 2021. All pentahelix's component were attending the meeting. Pentahelix means all component related to disaster management in Indonesia. They are the government, private sector, community, academia, and media. 

The goal of the meeting is to gather various policies and lessons learned from the ground whilst many parties managing the disaster in Indonesia. From the meeting, it is hoped that all stakeholders can work hand in hand in the future for reducing disaster impacts and saving more lives. 

In the following section, I would like to present a number of important notes from the meeting. 

Four Presidential Directives for Improving Disaster Management

On Wednesday, March 03, 2021, the national meeting for disaster management was officially opened by the President of Republic Indonesia, Joko Widodo. In this occasion, the president ordered four directives: 

Firstly, 

This is not the time for producing more regulations. The most important thing to do is to monitor the implementation of those regulations in the ground, especially for the controlling and enforcing standards. 

For example, in relation to the earthquake, we need to examine the implementation of building code for houses, and public and social facilities. It need to be monitor and audit so that we can understand the building resilient and its compliance towards standard or building code. 

The purpose of this attempt is to minimise victims due to the disaster. In doing so, the president ordered to related stakeholders to conduct corrective actions and strengthen the building when it does not comply with the standard or building code. 

Secondly, 

President restated that policies for disaster risk reduction should be integrated between upstream and downstream. He also reminded us to avoid sectoral and regional egos. 

The President expected all parties to work together and filling the gap. No one should feel that this is not his or her job and bussines. 

He said, "We need to be careful as this is a disaster. It is different with other 'normal' things." 

Thirdly, 

President reminded us regarding the importance of emergency phase. Moreover, he urged the improvement of recovery process in terms of its velocity. The improvement should be incorporated all related stakeholders. 

Why is the speed of recovery important? 

Because the speed of recovery can be easily seen by affected communities. Once you gave promise to finish the process in a year, then you should fullfil it. 

In addition, the president also reminded us for the functionality of the early warning system. This system should be worked smoothly and checked regularly. When all of these were being done, then it can work faster and more accurate. Then the response for the warning also need to be fast. 

Next point from the president was regarding the contingeny and operation plan. Both plans have to be able to be implemented fastly. 

Because, velocity is the key for saving lives and reducing the number of victims. 

Finally, 

President instructed to improve the education and literacy process regarding disaster. This action is important especially for communities in the prone areas. The activity can be implemented in the very small scale, such as in the family level. 

Then disaster drill and simulation should be conducted especially in the very prone areas. By doing so, communities can be more ready for facing future disaster threats.

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