Solidarity for Community Awareness and Action to Cope with Disasters

CWS Indonesia | September 9, 2017

Oky Juser Laisnima leads a meeting of the Disaster Risk Reduction Forum in Timor Tengah Selatan District in West Timor. Photo: CWS

“Our district [in the north of South Sulawesi island] is often hit by natural disasters like floods, landslides and drought. In the past, there were no resources from the district government or anybody else to deal with disasters, so we worked together as volunteers in our community when a disaster struck. In the past, we didn’t know anything about disaster risk reduction or preparedness,” remembers Oky Juser Laisnima, who leads the Disaster Risk Reduction Forum that was formed in his district as part of the CWS-supported SOLIDARITAS initiative.

In solidarity with government disaster management agencies, CWS staff have helped improve their awareness, knowledge and, importantly, their ability to take action for disaster risk reduction, response preparedness, and mitigation. This includes support to District DRR Forum, which convenes key stakeholders and duty bearers
around the increasingly complex dynamic of acknowledging and addressing weather-related risks and disasters.

“SOLIDARITAS has helped us further the DRR Forum’s mission and reach important milestones in our district, such as setting up a Disaster Information System. The Forum has also been instrumental in getting important regulations and standard operating procedures finalized and signed by the Head of the District,” Oky added.
“Recently we did a community awareness campaign in two villages where CWS helping us pilot the government’s Disaster Resilient Village concept, and we used our local radio station to broadcast public service announcements about disaster preparedness and response.”

Nearby, in another village, the SOLIDARITAS team has supported community leaders to add disaster risk reduction and management into their village development plan. One local leader, Harun Lembang, had a number of points to share in talking about the project. “Now there is a process to integrate DRR activities into our development plan, and we can start budgeting for {government support for] DRR work in the future. I am happy and I feel encouraged, and for 2018 we will propose an emergency response fund and also funds for reforestation,” he said; then added, “The biggest benefit in the community is that we have improved knowledge about disasters, especially how to identify hazards, and how to reduce risks. I hope that all the action plans and activities that have been prepared with the support from the CWS SOLIDARITAS team can be realized to reduce the effects of natural disasters, especially landslides and fires that often occur in our area.

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