Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Inauguration of the 2023 National Coordination Meeting on Disaster Management at JiExpo Hall B1-B2, Central Jakarta, March 2, 2023

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 2 Maret 2023
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Good morning,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Om swastiastu,
Namo buddhaya,
Greetings of virtue.

Distinguished Coordinating Ministers, Ministers of Indonesia Onward Cabinet;
Distinguished Excellency Ambassadors of friendly countries in attendance;
Distinguished Governors, Regents, and Mayors across the country along with Regional Military Commanders (Pangdam) and Regional Police Chiefs (Kapolda);
Distinguished Commander in Chief the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Chief of the Indonesian National Police (Kapolri);
Distinguished Head of National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Heads of Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), all volunteers;
Ladies and Gentlemen. Esteemed guests.

What is the biggest fear in today’s world? It is not pandemic or war anymore. It is climate change that all countries scare the most. And, climate change has drastically caused the  increase in natural hazards. Indonesia has been identified among the top three most disaster-prone countries.

The frequency of disasters in our country has increased by 81 percent from 1,945 disasters in 2010 to 3,544 disasters in 2022. We faced floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, and other natural and non-natural disasters. Therefore, being stay alert and remain vigilant are the keys, namely disaster preparedness, including emergency response and post-impact stages. Everything must be prepared and managed properly.

I noticed that we often focus on the emergency response phase when a disaster occurs, while pre-disaster stage is more important. The pre-disaster actions that include disseminating information to the people, educating the community, and providing emergency training to the people for disaster prevention must be a priority. What for? To mitigate risks and minimize the number of victims and amount of damage.

First, early warning system is important. We often exercised a delayed warning.

Second, providing education [on disasters] to the people. Emergency training for the people is far more important. A worst-case scenario must be prepared so they know the safest place. We often ignore the small things like that. We are so confused when a disaster occurs. Once it is done, it is done. We forget that pre-disaster phase, educating the people, and providing emergency training are more critical so they know how to protect themselves in the safest place.

Third, spatial planning and construction-related matters. I urge the regional public works offices and regional development planning agencies to pay attention to this matter. Do not make the same mistakes. In Palu, cracks always appear in the same village or district when an earthquake or tsunami occurs every 20 or 50 years, yet housing is always rebuilt there yet again. Is it really a mistake? It is obvious. The same applies to landslides. We still grant permission for construction in disaster-prone areas. Be very careful on that.

Then, related officials should also pay attention to the disaster vulnerability map. We should’ve known where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes frequently occur since we have a disaster risk map. There should be directions on earthquake-resistant construction for those who will begin the construction.

For example, at least 51 thousand people died and thousands are still missing in Turkey quake recently. The buildings are tall, but it is not earthquake-resistant. This is why many tall buildings have collapsed. We must make directions so contractors use earthquake-resistant construction on high-rise buildings and non-storied buildings, especially in earthquake-prone areas.

It is also important for regional governments and the BPBD to become the spearhead for disaster management. What does BPBD stand for? Why is the abbreviation so long? It is an abbreviation, but it has a long form of words. The National Disaster Management Agency. BNPB is just too long. Disaster Agency. It consists of two words. The National Disaster Management Agency and Regional Disaster Management Agency.

Once again, I urge the BPBD and regional governments to identify potential disasters in their respective areas, including landslides, floods, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. More importantly, prepare the budget. Do not make the BPBD say “Sir, there is no budget for that,” or make someone say “Sir, we do not have enough budget,” while it is obvious that disasters often hit the area, be it floods, landslides, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Be well-prepared.

Call regional governments first instead of Head of the BNPB, or Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture. The Central Government will assist with the problem if it is too complicated and the regions do not have capacity. It should go that way, right? So, does anyone agree if the budget is increased? Does anyone disagree? Please, raise your hand, I will give you a bike then.

Moreover, the regional governments must include disaster risk management in their development plan and investment plan. There should be planning regulations to make it clear which area is allowed for building. For the implementation, and it is one of our weaknesses. We have to strictly forbid anyone on the ground from building in a certain area like, “Hey, you cannot start any constructions here,” or if some people want to build, you can tell them,” Hey, this is a landslides-prone area!”

Obviously, there is a river that always breaks its banks every year, yet people still erect buildings there and ignore it. I often noticed such things on the ground. I see it every time I inspect it on the ground. We have the Development Planning Board (Bappeda) for the planning. However, the planning is set already but the implementation on the ground is not supervised, controlled, or monitored. That is our weakness. Therefore, a joint disaster fund is critical. Use the budget as much as possible for the people, especially those at the grass-roots level.

Let me remind you. We used to have a budget for disasters coming from the regions, the Central Government, and donations from a lot of people. I noticed that the budget is piled up at a command post, district, or subdistrict. There are trucks passing by back and forth carrying assistance, but those affected by disasters can only watch. They never receive it since the assistance is saved at the district, subdistrict, or command post. They only can see it. I have reminded you of this often.

Please if we have social assistance, provide some to more than half affected community even though they cannot cook it right after. Probably, it will provide relief when they receive it after a disaster occurred. “Whoa, I receive 20 kilograms of rice and some instant noodles.” Do not just pass by before their eyes but assist them. Please provide assistance to those who just clap.

Do not let affected people who have lost their families and livelihoods still face a hard time  for getting help. Therefore, simplify the rules.

I have some experiences during my visit to West Nusa Tenggara, Palu, and Cianjur. I saw there is enough budget for assistance. We would like to announce to the community since they have been waiting for too long, it turned out that we must go through several complicated procedures. Why do not just make simple procedures in such circumstances? We make rules, happier with more rules. Simplify it, make it the simplest one so that the money or assistance can immediately reach the people, but it is controlled properly. We also must carry out controlling management. Do not make the same mistake since this happens in almost every disaster.

I order Mr. Suharyanto, Head of BPBD in the regions, Governors, Mayors, and Regents to simplify the regulations. In post-disaster, speed is very much required.

And, by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, this morning I officially inaugurate the 2023 National Coordination Meeting on Disaster Management.

I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

(RIF/HD/MUR)

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