A Note from Sorong: Regional DRR Concept to Manage the Development – Caritas Indonesia – KARINA

A Note from Sorong: Regional DRR Concept to Manage the Development


This is the second note during the participation of the commemoration of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017 in Sorong City, West Papua. The theme of this event reflects the Earth’s role as our home. Putting a perspective that Earth is our home is actually in line with Pope Francis’ concern to take care of the Mother Earth in the Encyclical “Laudato Si” (For Our Common Home).

The word home has a wider meaning than a house. Home not only talks about buildings, but also touches the sense of security and comfort for those who live in it. All that living on Earth is expected to feel a safe and comfortable place to live together. Not only for humans, but also to all creatures that are in it. Therefore, viewing the earth as a home demands us on a realization to keep the Earth’s well-being as a place to live.

Reading again the Encyclical “Laudato Si” in the atmosphere of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017 is like waking me up from my hibernation. The responsibility to make sure the Earth is a safe and comfortable place for all beings is indeed in our hands. The concern to preserve and take care of the Earth is the task of all people, including the BNPB, the Ministries and Government Agencies that work in the Disaster Risk Reduction area.

The abovementioned messages are presented during the Knowledge Sharing sessions and exhibition stands. Of the many potential exhibition stand from BPBD in all provinces, police and non-government institutions, they generally want to convey a message to the community to always be resilient in dealing with disasters while minimizing risks by maintaining the balance of nature and environment.

Aimas Convention Center (ACC) Kota Sorong, tempat dilangsungkannya Peringatan Bulan PRB 2017 (Foto: KARINA).
Aimas Convention Center (ACC) at Sorong City, West Papua was used as the center of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017 in Indonesia (Photo: KARINA).

There are many technology products on display at Sorong District Square. A variety of rescue equipment is perched stoutly inside a large white tent of exhibition hall. In addition, there is also a technology product exhibition that is able to break down natural phenomena as well as provide predictions of weather and season in the future. All existing products are about to show the visitors that our nation continues to prepare itself to minimize the risk of future disasters.

Aimas Square is surrounded by a fence that limits the exhibition space with the surrounding environment. I wonder if this fence will not limit the community to access all the knowledge and technology inside the exhibition hall. To be frankly, there are still many people in this country who are “outside of the fence” with minimal knowledge and awareness of disaster risk reduction.

My thoughts is then swooped on a class discussion agreeing on the importance of a regional approach rather than a sectoral approach to disaster risk reduction efforts. Because, sectoral approach only makes us see a problem only partially. As a result, many problems about disaster cannot be solved completely because the solution is still fragmented.

This happens because many agencies only do what suits their duties and budget arrangements. This condition cannot be separated from the existing bureaucratic system in Indonesia. Therefore, it is not surprising that many permissions are issued without looking at the existing spatial concept. This is even worsened by ignoring vulnerability maps and disaster prone area policies (KRB).

Para peserta dan masyarakat mengungjungi stand-stand pameran (Foto: KARINA).
Participants were observing the exhibition stands (Photo: KARINA).

It’s like when we are about to develop tourism in the hilly area with cold weather and beautiful scenery, we also need to pay attention to the potential growth of lodging for the tourists. We cannot sacrifice all the lush green land solely to replace them with inns. Because the green land is pockets of water for the balance of nature. When all the green fields are cleared or gone, the potential for flash flood will be very high.

The acceleration of economic growth is one effort to prosper the community. However, the increase in the degree of human life needs to be continuously developed in the concept of development that is aligned in harmony with nature. It is inevitable that a regional perspective as an effort to reduce disaster risk is very important. Therefore, building the nature of Indonesia as our home requires a regional policy involving various parties.

In conclusion, hopefully the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Indonesia that has been held since 2013 does not stop at the ceremonial level only. There are still many work remains to be done so that awareness of disaster risk reduction will land up to its core. Do not let those who stand outside the fence think that DRR knowledge and technology is just a show. ● Antonius Banu, Pr.


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