Pandemic an opportunity to strengthen disaster resilience: Widodo


Jakarta President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said that the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has offered an opportunity to strengthen resilience against disasters in Indonesia.

“We must use this experience as a momentum to strengthen our resilience in mitigating any form of disaster,” the President said while delivering the opening remarks at the National Disaster Mitigation Coordination Meeting in 2021, held at the State Palace on Wednesday.

The virtual meeting was attended by Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Doni Monardo, regional heads, and representatives of local disaster mitigation offices (BPBD), among others.

Over the last one year, Indonesia and some 215 other nations have worked hard to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, which has required them to work quickly, be innovative, and enter into regional and international collaborations, the President observed.

“I would also like to remind all of us that our country, Indonesia, is a country prone to disasters. It’s one of the 35 most disaster-prone nations in the world. Last year, we faced 3,253 disasters. It means approximately nine disasters daily, which is not a small number,” he added. Meanwhile, BNPB head Monardo said that Indonesia has proven that controlling COVID-19 can be carried out in parallel with efforts to maintain socio-economic activities.

The experience gained in the year since the COVID-19 disaster struck has also come with an opportunity to evaluate, maintain what is good, and improve what is still lacking, he noted.

“We must be optimistic that all the policies outlined by the President as head of state and head of government will bring the Indonesian nation out of health and economic problems,” he added.

Between February, 2020 and February 2021, BNPB recorded 3,253 disasters in Indonesia, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, flooding, landslides, and whirlwinds.

“The Minister of Finance has said that every year we experience economic losses due to disasters, which average Rp22.8 trillion per year. That is huge. Not to mention, if we look at the statistics of casualties due to disasters in the last 10 years, (we will find) an average of 1,183 people died as a result of natural disasters,” Monardo said.

The World Bank has even named Indonesia among the 35 countries with the highest disaster risk in the world, he noted.

“The government certainly will not remain silent; all government agencies, TNI, Polri, and local governments must work together to carry out various prevention, mitigation, and preparedness efforts,” he said.

The preventive measures include development planning based on disaster risk reduction, involving experts to predict threats, strengthening early warning systems, making contingency plans, and conducting education and training on disasters, he added.


Source: Antara News


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