On Tuesday, 21 January, 2020, the Mayor of Banda Aceh, Mr. Aminullah Usman, received a submission of a research document by TDMRC PEER team in the Mayor’s hall. This meeting has highlighted the need for immediate measures to mitigate the impacts of coastal floods and tsunamis compounded by sea-level rise on coastal hazards in the city. Officials from a number of related government agencies and an NGO are involved in the research. The research about coastal floods and tsunami mitigation strategies was commenced since 2016 and it has completely done at the end of 2019 under the research grant of PEER USAID Cycle 5.
One of the findings of the three-year-long study is that the city of Banda Aceh will experience either floods or tsunamis that would be submerged 3% of the total area due to the sea level rise by an average of 0.7 mm/year in the next 50 years and this figure will significantly increase by 11% in the next 100 years. In addition, the extent of tsunami inundation is predicted to increase 28 percent from the immersion covered during the 2004 tsunami. This condition will occur if there is no sufficient mitigation delivered to the area.
On this occasion, TDMRC researcher, Dr. Syamsidik stated that, with the effect of sea level rise, tsunamis will arrive at a more accelerated pace which means (the available period for) the evacuation process will be shorter and the damage is even stronger than previously predicted. During the meeting, Unsyiah Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Prof. Marwan said, Banda Aceh is facing a new threat namely climate change, particularly in rising sea level that might have a direct impact on residents in the coastal area, such as coastal floods. Both, Prof. Marwan and Dr. Syamsidik expect the research results can be used as a reference document for tsunami disaster and coastal flood mitigation policies and designing some programs to overcome the problem. In addition, Unsyiah is ready to cooperate with the Aceh Government in transferring knowledge and technologies which are suitable for public needs.
Whilst, Mr. Aminullah Usman expressed his hope that this experimental outcome needs to be delivered to educate the public about the current state of disaster knowledge, because it is undeniable that the disaster may occur in the future. On the other hand, Mr. Aminullah continued, the research will provide an underpinning for disaster policy as steps to anticipate the future disaster. He also mentioned that Banda Aceh has become a disaster-related research area. “Disasters are indeed unpredictable, but educating people must be done as early as possible,” he said.
Beside Banda Aceh, Mataram and Ambon city are also facing the same serious threats to coastal hazards, like coastal floods, coastal erosion, and tsunamis, and this study sheds a light on the potential contribution of related disasters in those cities.