TDMRC Supports ANRI in Preserving the Indian Ocean Tsunami Archive as Disaster Mitigation Strategy

To kick off the 15th Aceh Tsunami Commemoration, TDMRC Unsyiah and Aceh Government cooperatively engaged with the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia (ANRI) to hold an international seminar on tsunami archive themed Reflection of Tsunami Archive as the Memory of the World (MoW). The event took place at Hermes Palace Hotel, Banda Aceh, on Thursday, December 5th, 2019.

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By inviting speakers from home and overseas, the event drew nearly 280 participants consisting of experts, communities, and stakeholders. It was attended by leaders from various institutions of the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (KEMENPAN RB) in this case, Special Advisory to the Minister on Law, Tin Zuraida, the Head of the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia, Syarif Bando, the Head of the National Disaster Management Agency, the Aceh Government, the West Java Provincial Government and Chairperson of the Indonesian National MoW Committee, Dr. Mego Pinandito.

The seminar was started with welcoming remarks by the Acting Director of ANRI, Dr. M. Taufik. He stated that through ANRI, the archives of rehabilitation and reconstruction of Aceh was nominated as Memory of the World. In 2017, the archives were successfully registered in the International MoW by UNESCO. It means that the tsunami archives contribute to the world as a medium to acquire sufficient knowledge on disaster management as well as to anticipate potential threats that may occur in the future.

At the opening ceremony, the Rector of Universitas Syiah Kuala, Prof. Dr. Ir. Samsul Rizal, M.Eng., spoke as a Keynote Speaker. During his presentation, he confirmed the readiness of the university in supporting the establishment of Archival Study Center for Disaster Mitigation. The function of the study center is not limited to physically protect and preserve documents, artifacts, and memorials related to the tsunami events. It also provides special knowledge of timely and accurate information to help the communities prepare and cope with the disaster and to develop the connected and critical role of information technology.

The event continued with a signing ceremony for the MoU between ANRI and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) that covered Disaster Mitigation and Archiving. Subsequently, the MoU between ANRI and Unsyiah was signed particularly for the establishment of the Archival Study Center for Disaster Mitigation.

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The participants acknowledged that disaster documentation is important to be preserved as one way to improve the community awareness. The memory-related to disaster, as data, plays a significant role in enhancing the ability to educate the public, and presenting the data as adequate information requires new ideas on strategy and development in digital technologies integrating the innovation for the archives.

Work toward building awareness of the importance of tsunami archives was considered essential in all levels. Several distinguished disaster scientists, representatives of TDMRC, as well as the government elements gathered in international panels to discuss the preservation and access development to documentary heritage, and education on disaster as a mitigation strategy. From the seminar, several recommendations were proposed as follows:

  1. The National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia (ANRI) actively preserves and enhances access to disaster archives including the Indian Ocean Tsunami archive which has been recognized as MoW.
  2. ANRI encouraged the Ministries and Institutions, Local Government, entrepreneurs, and the communities to formulate specific policies and programs to improve disaster management.
  3. Archive-based research in the field of disaster shall be conducted by academics involving universities and research institutions.
  4. Disaster research and education need to consider the values of local wisdom and archival information.
  5. Regional governments should increase public awareness by using the results of research and government policies in the field of disaster-based archives.
  6. ANRI should initiate the establishment of the Study Center for Disaster Archives (PUSAKE) to provide adequate source for disaster-related research for various policymakers, academics, and the community at large.
  7. The government should provide data related to disaster events to be archived.
  8. Mass media should play an active role in disseminating information about disasters from the archives.