Surianti Todingbua is a 39-year-old nurse in a sub-district Health Center on Sulawesi island in eastern Indonesia. She is also a member of the Indonesian Red Cross North Toraja District Branch and, for two years, has been active in the SOLIDARITAS initiative, which is led by a local CWS partner, INANTA.
Since she lives in a disaster-prone area that is especially vulnerable to landslides and floods, and because she has so much experience in roles that are vital in times of disaster, Surianti decided to join the district Disaster Risk Reduction Forum in her area, and to work with other community members to use all the information they had at hand to draft a Disaster Risk Analysis and Disaster Management Plan. “I decided to join the Forum because I think it’s essential that all the different government agencies and other groups join with communities to ensure effective and well-coordinated disaster response,” Surianti said recently to some CWS staff. And then she continued, “I participated in various disaster preparedness training sessions as well as simulation exercise, which gave me a great opportunity to practice what I had learned. Already, I can see a change in the way the community and the government view disasters and disaster risk management. Before SOLIDARITAS,” Surianti continued, “focus was only on recovery and reconstruction after a disaster. Now [we] pay more attention to analyzing hazards and on knowing about and mapping disaster risks.”
A focus in SOLIDARITAS, in addition to civil society and community engagement, is on improving knowledge, information access and human resources (capacity) among government workers, who are key duty bearers and responders, before a disaster even strikes. Also, the focus for disaster response is on improving cross-sectoral coordination among government agencies as well as the Indonesian Red Cross, the military and the police. The goal of course is to prevent small scale disasters, and mitigate their damage when possible. Equally important, too, is for everyone to be more informed about ways to respond, and then to respond quickly and efficiently, when larger disasters occur.
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