Through Solidarity, Community Early Warning Systems Are in Place … And a Good Place to Start

CWS Indonesia | November 17, 2017

Yohanis Sampe Tola – Disaster Risk Reduction Forum head, Sadan Likulambe village, Toraja Utara district, South Sulawesi. Photo: CWS

Natural disasters are sadly to common in Lembang on Sulawesi island, as they are in countless Indonesian villages. Over the years landslides and fires have repeatedly claimed lives and destroyed village infrastructure. But now, with CWS support in SOLIDARITAS, community member and local government are taking steps together to make Lembang a disaster resilient village.

Yohanis Sampe Tola leads the local disaster risk reduction Forum; and recently, with village leaders – both government duty bearers and volunteer Disaster Preparedness Team members, the Forum agreed on a new early warning system for Lembang that can be understood and used quickly by the whole community to make sure everyone is reached with warnings. For example, if a landslide is imminent or happening, the church bell will sound continuously for five minutes. In case of fire, a traditional drum will sound continuously for five minutes. “This is all part of the community’s collective efforts: identifying hazards and agreeing on simple early warning signals plus deciding on and marking evacuation routes and gathering points,” said Yohanis. “The faster and more accurate early warning is, the faster people will respond in case of a disaster. For the future, we hope our government will assist us with more sophisticated systems, too, like ground motion detectors for landslides.” And, for now, the steps the Lembang Forum members have taken are a key accomplishment in SOLIDARITAS, for which Yohanis and others are rightly proud.

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