Reflecting on Aceh’s Experience, Palu Studies Disaster Mitigation

With the hope of following after Aceh’s spirit in post-disaster recovery, ten policymakers from Palu arrived at Aceh, as participants of a workshop on Disaster Knowledge Sharing Aceh-Palu: Learning and Experiencing the Post-Disaster Recovery Process. The workshop was held by the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) in collaboration with TDMRC Unsyiah. It took place mainly in Banda Aceh from September 23 to 25, 2019.

The chief in charge of the event, Dr. Agus Nugroho said that at least 24 participants were involved in this event comprising of training, forum group discussions, and field visits. Further, he stated that, the creation of this event was triggered by the phenomenon of three types of natural disasters occurred around city of Palu and Donggala Regency in Central Sulawesi on 28 September last year.

Aceh Province officially started its disaster recovery program from 2005 to 2009, which means the process was the longest and most complex that has ever been conducted in Indonesia. Hence, the recovery process in Aceh has inspired several disaster-affected regions and countries. The Director of DTTP Bappenas, Dr. Velix V. Wanggai stated clearly the importance of this event to the policymakers of Palu. On the whole, it was clear that this workshop was of high importance for the government agencies in their efforts to overcome the post-disaster situation in Indonesia, because, since Aceh suffered the earthquake and tsunami, it has always been an example for other places. And the complex recovery of Aceh itself has inspired other parties.

The Director of DTTP Bappenas, Dr. Velix V. Wanggai giving his opening remarks
Mr. Velix V. Wanggai delivering his opening remarks

According to him, the government has placed disaster aspects to be the focus of national and regional policies. This focus has encouraged the government to be able to reconcile Aceh which was once affected by great disasters. Furthermore, the success of Aceh reconciliation was also due to relief contributions from several parties including the United Nations, ASEAN countries, and NGOs.

During the three-day workshop, the participants were involved in various training on several topics regarding to post-disaster recovery. Among the topics brought up were; the concept of disaster-affected area recovery based on sustainable development, mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in the most recent technocratic drafting of National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024, disaster risk management in the process of recovery, the recovery planning of the affected area. The discussion during the workshop brought up the talk of bringing local universities in the effort of post-disaster recovery process, the role of disaster journalism, the role of e-commerce as a step to remedy financial situations, and many other topics.

Representatives of participants receiving Book Report
Representatives of participants receiving Book Report

The participants were also invited to field visits on several places to witness the results of the disaster recovery efforts like Tsunami Museum, Tzu Chi Buddhist Housings, Disaster Science Graduate Program of Unsyiah and also Pidie Jaya as the last special destination of the trip. The visit to Pidie was to examine the response of local community as the area suffered severe damages from the earthquake in 2016.

All these special workshop materials are delivered by the Rector of Universitas Syiah Kuala, Pidie Regent, Serambi Aceh local newspaper, Tokopedia E-Commerce, Head of Graduate Program in Disaster Science Unsyiah, officials from the national disaster management and development agencies (BNBP and BAPPENAS), and of course some experts of TDMRC.

During the closing ceremony, head of the Palu Bina Marga, Syaifullah Djafar, expressed how he was impressed by this activity. He uttered that severe hardships experienced by Aceh was a pivotal moment for them. The information provided also helps the participants to strengthen their knowledge in disaster recovery and the process of its reconstruction later on.