ITB team carries out fieldwork visit to Bali, Indonesia, January 2022

In January and February 2022, the ITB research team, led by Dr Harkunti Rahayu, were able to carry out fieldwork in Bali, including field observations and a focus group discussion on ‘Community Capacity in the Warning Chain of Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System’.

The focus group took place in Tanjung Benoa, a community located on a peninsula that is a subdistrict of Kuta South District of Badung Regency on Bali. The area is popular for water sports and like much of Bali, attracts a lot of tourists each year. However, Bali is also exposed to a significant tsunami hazard posed by the Sunda Trench, where the Indo-Australian plate subducts under a part of the Eurasian plate, and which stretches over a length of more than 3000 km along the Indonesian archipelago. These movements often cause strong earthquakes. Vertical movements are especially dangerous, as they can lift great water masses in a very short time resulting in tsunamis. Bali is also exposed to the Flores back-arc thrust, which runs along the northern coast of the islands of Bali and Lombok, i.e. 7 M earthquake generated significant tsunami in 1815 and 6.5 M earthquake with minor tsunami in 1976.

The focus group had 30 participants from 19 local community based organisations involved in tsunami disaster risk reduction activities, community evacuation planning, including community based early warning system. This included representatives from Komunitas Sahabat Teluk Benoa, Peduli Mangrove, Lurah Tanjung Benoa, Peninsula, Kasi Pemb Kel, Staf Kelurahan, Paiketan Krama Istri, Pecalang, Forum Pendatang, Bakamda Tengkulung, Pemuda Tengkulung, Sekretaris Desa, Pecalang, LPM, Kaling, Kasi Pem, Kasi Sosial, Kaling, and FPRB.

The focus group began with an opening address by I Wayan Sudiana, a chief of village/Lurah of Tanjung Benoa, and a detailed presentation by Dr Harkunti Rahayu about the end-to-end tsunami early warning system and how the community based early warning system could be engaged. Further detailed interventions were provided on a range of perspectives, including building community preparedness by Head of DRR Forum (FPRB) of Tanjung Benoa, Dr I Wayan Deddy Sumantra, and on the Pentahelix Partnership in Disaster Risk Reduction by Head of DRR Forum (FPRB) of Bali Province, Mr I Gede Sudiartha. The General Manager of the Peninsula Bay Resort, Mr Windianto, provided experiences of the Tsunami Ready Hotels initiative, a certification programme provided by Bali Province that involves a comprehensive audit on the readiness of the hotel towards tsunami and the commitment of the hotel to tsunami preparedness, including early warning and evacuation protocols. Following this, there was an intensive period for discussion and questions and answers with the 30 participants.

Photographs (above): Focus Group Discussion, Image courtesy of Harkunti Rahayu

Furthermore, Tanjung Benoa Village is one among seven candidates in Indonesia for UNESCO/IOC Tsunami Ready Recognition. The twelve indicators of Tsunami Ready has been implemented and reviewed by Tsunami Ready National Board. During the GPDRR May 23-28, 2022, the village will be the show case of UNESCO/IOC IOTWMS Tsunami Ready Program.

The study also involved field visits to areas for tsunami evacuation and disaster risk reduction initiatives and efforts. This included a visit to the Bugis Village that was undergoing a routine cleaning programme, and the Peninsula Bay Hotel, which has 3 rooms with an identified capacity for 500 people.

The team also visited a Mangrove Forest in Tahura Ngurah Rai, exploring the potential for nature-based solutions to dissipate wave energy from tsunami, and to Banjar Desa Adat Kertha Pascima (Meeting Place of Traditional Village), to see how local knowledge can be used to enhance early warning effectiveness.

Photograph (above):  Mangrove Forest, Tahura Ngurah Rai, Image courtesy of Harkunti Rahayu

A number of important findings emerged from the study, including a need to conduct further training about tsunami preparedness and community based tsunami early warning protocol, such as how to evacuate, the need for greater socialisation about the natural signs of tsunami to reduce reliance on official early warning messages, the potential for increased use of WhatsApp messaging as a media for disseminating warning, and how Mosques can be used as tsunami shelter. There was also discussion about how local wisdom of Balinese/Hinduism can be applied in disaster risk reduction, such as how a a ‘kulkul’ (traditional/balinese wooden bell) can be used as an alternative for disseminating earthquake and tsunami warning. The discussions also recognised a need to develop standard operating procedure on use of the ‘kulkul’, such as identifying a responsible person, developing appropriate ringing pattern, and raising awareness among the community.

Photograph (above): Banjar Desa Adat Kertha Pascima (Meeting Place of Traditional Village) and a Kulkul (traditional/balinese wooden bell) that can be used as an alternative for disseminating earthquake and tsunami warning. Image courtesy of Harkunti Rahayu

In the remaining months of the project, the ITB team will be working with the University of Huddersfield team to consolidate the results from the desk studies and fieldwork to better understand the key areas of capacity for effective tsunami early warning at the local level. A scientific paper has been drafted based on the field study in Bali by Harkunti Rahayu.