Indonesia Cooperates with Australia on Disaster Response in East Nusa Tenggara

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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Sanci Davis First Secretariat Development Cooperation Australian Embassy in Jakarta working visit to East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) on June 25-28 to see first-hand the implementation of four cooperation programs between Australia and Indonesia, which will be implemented in East Nusa Tenggara since 2020. The four programs are SiapSiaga (readiness), Innovation, Inclusion and Connectivity.

In Kupang City, Sanci inspected the implementation of the SiapSiaga program at the NTT BPBD office, which cooperates with the Disaster Management Operations Command Center (Pusdalops) to anticipating disasters in the area. Sanci also visited Tanah Putih Village in East Kupang District, Kupang Regency, which is being prepared to become one of the disaster response villages there.

“Tanah Putih village is the most vulnerable to drought, causing farmers to experience planting and harvest failures,” said Haris, chairman of CIS Timor.

CIS Timor is working with Australia through the SiapSiaga program to train women and people with disabilities Tanah Putih village who are most affected by disasters. “Women in the area are being trained to respond to disasters,” he said.

The SiapSiaga program is an Australia-Indonesia disaster risk management partnership that aims to improve disaster preparedness and response capacity in Indonesia, while strengthening humanitarian cooperation between Australia and Indonesia. This initiative is in line with Indonesia’s National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024 and the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Strategy (2016).

The SiapSiaga program works at different levels to improve the disaster management system. At the national level, the program works with BNPB, Bappenas, the Home Affairs Ministry, the Social Affairs Ministry, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry. At the provincial and district levels, SiapSiaga works with government agencies and civil society organizations.

In addition to NTT, other provinces partnering with Australia in the SiapSiaga program include East Java, Bali and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). The cooperation takes the form of providing technical assistance and improving the effectiveness of disaster management.

“This program works with government institutions such as BPBD, Bappeda, Diskominfo, and DP3AK, as well as non-governmental organizations such as the Disaster Risk Reduction Forum (FPRB), MDMC, LPBI-NU, and organizations working with people with disabilities,” said Sanci.

The program is carried out in NTT because the province is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which makes it highly vulnerable to geological and hydrometeorological disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and typhoons. In addition, as an archipelagic province consisting of more than a thousand small islands and islets, NTT also has a high risk of hydrometeorological disasters related to climate dynamics.

From 1999 to 2021, NTT experienced 843 natural disasters, killing 588 people and causing significant damage to infrastructure. About 94 percent of these natural disasters were climate-related, with floods being the most common. NTT has experienced 20 tsunami events in the last two centuries, including the 1992 Flores tsunami disaster, which killed approximately 2,000 people.

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