VIDEO | Praying and Preparing for their Hazard Safe FutureDec 5, 2017
A video “Praying and Preparing for their Safe Future” shows how UNDP Indonesia holds tsunami education and safety drills in schools across Indonesia.
The country sits on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where most of the world’s earthquakes occur and tsunamis form. This is why Indonesia is often among first countries hit by tsunamis that are generated in the Indian Ocean.
As the epicenter of the devastating tsunami in 2004, Aceh province on Sumatra Island had the highest number of casualties. More than 220,000 people lost their lives because there was no early warning system in place. People also couldn’t recognize tsunami warning signs and stayed in the coastal areas.
Only a small fishing community in Simeulue seemed to be prepared. Hit by the tsunami merely 15 minutes after the earthquake, they had only seven victims. How? An old story, passed down from generation to generation, guides to “run quickly up the hill when an earthquake shakes the ground and ocean water descends”. Seeing these signs in 2004, people in Simeulue knew what to do.
“While we all remember the 2004 tsunami, we also must remember what to do when such disaster strikes. This is why UNDP has partnered with the Government of Japan to conduct tsunami drills in schools in Indonesia. We want all our children to know what behaviour and reaction that can save their lives when tsunamis occur,” said Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Country Director in Indonesia.
“Our culture and believes are tied to the ocean. We must have respect to the ocean but we must also be prepared when tsunami strikes,” explained I Made Mundra, Headmaster, Junior 3 High School of Kuta Selatan, Bali.
With support from the Government of Japan, UNDP is working with the Government of Indonesia to assist schools to assess their tsunami risks, develop emergency evacuation plans and conduct safety drills.
Tsunami education in Indonesia is part of a regional “Strengthening School Preparedness for Tsunamis in the Asia-Pacific Region” project that organizes safety drills to 90 schools in 18 Asia-Pacific countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.
UNDP’s work on disaster preparedness helps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) and Climate Action (Goal 13).