Daily note from Sorong: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017 – Caritas Indonesia – KARINA

Daily note from Sorong: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017

25/10/2017
2017-10-23 10.07.52-1

All hotel rooms in Sorong City have been full since a few days before the agenda of the Commemoration of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction held by BNPB. In fact, all of the rental cars were already booked out despite the committee also provides the buses from the local Transport Department to pick up the participants. There are about 3,000 participants from various elements of both government and non-government that crowded the ACC (Aimas Convention Center) which is located in Sorong, West Papua Province.

From 22-25 October, the participants who mostly from out of town and outside this area will be in Sorong City. They are humanitarian activists in the field of disaster management from all provinces in Indonesia. That 3,000 figure becomes a strategic number to support tourism in West Papua, especially Manokwari and Sorong Raya (Raja Ampat).

At first glance looking and comparing the many writings in the media, Sorong City does show its growth. Its position as a transit city with Domine Eduard Osok Airport (DEO) became the cause of this city to be seemed more alive with activities even until at night when lights decorated the hotel rooms and also the streets.

Aimas Convention Center (ACC) menjadi tempat diselenggarakannya Peringatan Bulan PRB 2017 (Foto: KARINA).
Aimas Convention Center (ACC) is used as the center of the Commemoration of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017 in Indonesia (Foto: KARINA).

The 13th of October has been designated as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and has been an annual national agenda in Indonesia since 2013. Willem Rampangilei, Head of BNPB, in his speech he stated that the theme for 2017’s commemoration is “Disaster Risk Reduction as the Development Investment”.

As one of the participants who follows the flow of event, it’s like I’m seeing two realities that go hand in hand at the moment. On one hand, I’m looking at a city that wants to keep growing to increase its income. On the other hand, I am reminded that we are all living in a land that is prone to disaster. Therefore, it is important to continue mainstreaming awareness of disaster risk reduction in every development effort.

This development effort when likened, is like a family that is building the household economy. The investment for the household economy depends on the form of business. The most common thing to do is to put the investment in the vehicle for business, both two-wheeled and four-wheeled. To minimize the risk that may occur in doing the business, the vehicle is insured.

Insurance is an easy choice to protect the assets owned. Especially if the vehicle is the only means of the family to earn their economic income. However, this logic is not the same for bigger things. A province that is actively building, cannot necessarily insure the infrastructure they build to reduce disaster risks on development investment that has been done. Development planning is a major factor in addressing future disaster risks. This has become a major investment to reduce disaster risks for infrastructure and people in the region.

Ruang pertemuan utama dihadiri oleh kurang lebih 3.000 peserta dalam Peringatan Bulan PRB 2017 di Kota Sorong (Foto: KARINA).
Around 3.000 participants are coming to this event at Sorong City, West Papua (Foto: KARINA).

BNPB has stated that at the end of the period President Joko Widodo takes office, the disaster risk index will decrease by 30% as defined in the RPJMN (The Medium Term of Development Plan 2015-2019). This was reiterated by Mr. Willem Rampangilei at ACC. Therefore, it is fitting that we all hope that the Indonesian Government will weigh all the environmental studies for the balanced development of nature. It is common to us that the territory of the Republic of Indonesia lies on two active volcanic plates, the Pacific and India-Australia.

Planning development that is ignored with the reality of this nature, in the end it will bring a new disaster that really does not need to happen. In big cities many story about the flood suddenly hit since the housing compound was built. There is also a tragic story about mining that occurs on a large scale without regard to the environment. And fresh from our memories is the ever-increasing case of forest and land fires. All that happens because there is no balance between the growth of infrastructure and natural ecosystems.

Sorong City is similar to other cities that are actively building. Moreover, President Joko Widodo intensively seeks inter-regional connectivity with land, sea and air connections. One of them is the Sea Toll targeting the area of West Papua and surrounding areas with the construction of a dock in the city of Sorong.

This brings hope for a better economic change. But on the other hand can also bring disaster if we cannot manage well. Therefore, awareness of disaster risk reduction should be synchronized between government and society. This is not just the mandate and responsibility of BNPB alone. However, it also becomes the main awareness and priority in every ministry and institution in government so that development planning always considers the vulnerability map in Indonesia. ● Antonius Banu, Pr.

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