Do not underestimate BMKG’s disaster warnings: minister

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini has asked her ministry’s officials not to underestimate disaster warnings issued by the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). Instead, they must take anticipatory measures in response to them.

“When the earthquake hit Palu, the BMKG had warned, but there was no response action taken, and that cost us many lives. Therefore, don’t let it happen again; please, take immediate anticipatory steps,” she said.

Speaking at  a disaster preparedness session in an online event organized by the Directorate General of Social Protection and Security in Jakarta on Wednesday,  Rismaharini outlined four anticipatory steps for dealing with disasters.

She advised staff to learn the local wisdom of the community in order to gain a better understanding of their needs and prepare steps to deal with the impact of disasters.

She said she learnt during a visit to Simeulue Island in Aceh Province, that locals could reach safer areas on their own easily during earthquakes and tsunamis. Despite the lack of sophisticated equipment, there were a few victims in the areas, she pointed out.

Reflecting on the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) cyclone, she urged the ministry’s officials to cooperate with parties related to local public communications when communications access is cut off.

When the cyclone struck, due to a communication breakdown, the ministry, which focused on providing help in NTT, had found out too late that the impact had been more severe in other areas, Rismaharini revealed, adding that she had managed to contact someone and immediately channeled aid through the contact to the areas.

Next, Rismaharini asked them not to underestimate the forecasts made by the BMKG, saying they have been studied academically and adapted to technical conditions on the field. She assured that the information issued by the BMKG can be trusted.

The minister then asked the officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services (Dinsos) to gain a better understanding of vulnerable people’s needs in order to prevent children, older adults, and people with disabilities from becoming victims to disasters.

“Many people with disabilities fail to evacuate themselves because they don’t know what to do,” the minister observed.

Therefore, she suggested that certain signs be installed in each house in disaster-prone areas to help children, older adults, or people with disabilities to leave the area if a disaster strikes.

She also asked her staff to form a cross-level communication group on a regional basis to establish communication and speed up evacuation and disaster management efforts.

 

Source: ANTARA News

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