|dc.description.abstract||Globally, disasters cause tremendous impacts on humans, economies and the environment. In the past 20 years, the world has focused on how to best reduce these impacts through a series of global policy frameworks. The disaster risk reduction and management concept adopted by the Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR 2015-2030) in the third United Nations World Conference on DRR (WCDRR) promotes the reduction of hazards against people and the environment. The framework also encourages member countries to enhance their disaster preparedness capacities for effective responses. An Early Warning System (EWS) is an essential component of disaster preparedness and includes four elements (risk knowledge; monitoring and warning; dissemination and communication; and response capability) in order to provide effective and timely information to people at risk. The International Network for Multi-Hazard EWSs was a major agenda of the session on the Early Warning System in the third UN WCDRR. This network was established to strengthen Multi-Hazard EWSs (MHEWSs) as an integral part of national strategies for disaster risk reduction and building resilience in order to support the implementation of the SFDRR and it recognises the importance of involving the community within the system. Considering multi-hazards EWS and explicitly identifying the role of community engagement (CE) approaches is crucial to achieve the effectiveness of EWS design and operation, so as to prevent loss of lives, injuries and to protect the environment. However, the research suggests that EWSs in many settings still heavily focus on a single hazard using technology without comprehensively including all elements or involving the community in the system, leading to ineffective preparedness to disaster response.
Aceh, the westernmost province in Indonesia, is vulnerable to multiple disasters. Although since the catastrophic 2004 tsunami much progress has been achieved in infrastructure, legislation and capacity building for various actors in disaster preparedness and management in the province, inadequate disaster preparedness leading to less than optimal response has continued to occur in Aceh. For example, in the 2007 and 2012 earthquakes, most people did not use evacuation buildings and they fled using motorcycles causing 10 deaths due to panic. As a result, motorists blocked main roads, hampering evacuation processes. Further, during the November 2018 ﬂoods, although no casualties were reported, many people (over 210) were trapped, stranded and lost their homes and property because they did not have suﬃcient time to evacuate due to the absence of eﬀective dissemination of information in advance. There are numerous areas where preparedness could be improved, one of which is in the area of CE in the EWS design and operation.
This research aims to investigate the opportunities and challenges for enhancing CE in the EWS to improve disaster preparedness in Aceh. To achieve this aim, a qualitative approach was adopted, utilising diverse data collection methods: a systematic review of grey and peer-reviewed literature to understand CE in EWSs globally; in-depth interviews with 39 key stakeholders from provincial to village levels including persons involved in disaster management and the EWS operation, and decision makers, Imuem mukim, village chiefs, and other adat stakeholders; discussion with 6 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in two case villages and reviews of local government regulations, reports and other documents from provincial to village levels.
A systematic literature review of 15 journal articles and 16 project reports focused on research that included EWS elements and community engagement in a disaster context. The review identified a lack of reported CE activities across the four elements of EWSs when examining cases from around the world. Key challenges for engaging the community in EWSs identified through the review included constraints on the sustainability of CE in EWSs due to insufficient technical, financial and human resources; the absence of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for CE in EWSs; insufficient incorporation of CE activities into formal EWSs; insufficient integration of traditional and scientific knowledge in the system; and lack of inclusion, and hence recognition, of the needs of all vulnerable groups in the EWSs context.
The major findings based on the setting, Aceh, are categorised into four areas: (1) existing EWS structure and governance, and roles of actors involved in the system, (2) current CE conditions across the four elements of EWS in the province, (3) enabling factors for enhancing CE in the EWS to improve disaster prepredness, and (4) barriers that can hinder CE in the EWS.
Some of the key issues relating to the existing EWS governance and structure and actors involved in the system include: (1) the EWS management that focuses only on tsunami, (2) an over-reliance on technology, (3) the absence of legal authority of the EWS manager (Pusdalops), (4) the linear nature of the EWS model adopted, (5) various information dissemination interruptions—delayed information flows between actors, lack of media engagement in warning dissemination, information dissemination disruption from and to rural locations, (6) disaster response challenges relating to staff shortcomings—actors being constrained by their internal regulations (bureaucracy); egocentrism that leads to inadequate coordination between response agencies; staff turnover that leads to poor coordination among actors and inadequate skilled staff; limited workforce at Pusdalops in the Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah (BPBD or District Disaster Management Agency) in Pidie district; and the dominance of military/police in disaster responses.
The other key issues in relation the current status of CE across the four elements of the EWS include the following: (1) communities were commonly involved in government or NGO projects in a few target areas but not across all the four EWS elements, (2) for the risk knowledge element, some communities understand well the risks within their areas based on their experience, (3) most people are not formally engaged in hazard monitoring and warning activities, though they independently monitor and predict some risks through observing natural signs, (4) communities commonly receive information through televisions, radios and the Internet (one-way communication engagement), (5) two-way communication engagement with the community is commonly facilitated by the Radio Antar Penduduk Indonesia (RAPI or Indonesian Inter-Citizen Radio) using “Handy Talkies”, (6) some communities in particular areas were often engaged with short-term response activities such as disaster drills and simulations, but the activities were not formalized in contingency plans, which were lacking, hence sustainability is problematic, and (7) some communities prepare for disaster responses independently of government leadership utilising their own resources and networks.
Further, the key findings identified opportunities for enhancing CE in the EWS to improve disaster prepredness, including (1) improving CE with disaster management and Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) programs initiated and supported by governments or NGOs e.g. TAGANA (Disaster Alert Teams), Search and Rescue (SAR) operation, Public Safety Centres (PSC), Disaster Preparedness School, Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP), and Desa Tangguh Bencana (Destana or Resilient Village), (2) utilising the respected figures within communities and disaster experienced communities, (3) utilising existing local customary (adat) and sharia practices that align with EWS principles and goals, (4) using the existing community infrastructure such as meunasahs (village community centres) and mosques for preparedness and response activities.
However, the identified challenges for enhancing CE in the EWS include (1) inadequate integration of CE activities into formal EWS processes, (2) the weakening of existing supporting practices such as meuseraya, (3) inadequate recognition of the roles of Imuem mukim to maintain adat and sharia practices that align with the goals of EWS, (4) lack of funds to maintain CE programs, (5) unsustainability of CE programs due to the lack of community ownership of CBDRR programs and disaster management infrastructure, and (6) religious beliefs about disasters which hamper CE in the EWS design and operation.
These four major findings concerning opportunities and challenges for enhancing CE in the EWS in Aceh were discussed to draw out the implications of these findings for the Aceh government to improve disaster preparedness for effective disaster response.
In addition, this research provides key recommendations for changes of policy and practice, and future research for provincial and Pidie district governments including Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Aceh (BPBA or Aceh Provincial Disaster Management Agency), Pidie district BPBD as well as other involved agencies to improve the existing EWS structure, governance and the roles of stakehoders involved in the system, CE conditions in the EWS, as well as to enhance the enabling factors and reduce barriers to engaging the community in the EWS in Aceh.
This research is the first study that has systematically examined the EWS elements to understand the opportunities and challenges for enhancing CE in the EWS in Aceh by interviewing various key respondents at provincial, district and sub-district levels, as well as conducting interviews and FGDs at kemukiman and village/gampong level with key respected stakeholders e.g. traditional Islamic leaders, an Imuem mukim, Keuchiks, adat stakeholders, and other important figures based on sharia and adat practices.
While a few of the findings relate to the unique cultural and religious context of Aceh province, others should be useful for other disaster vulnerable areas throughout Indonesia and other developing countries where similar concerns exist about how to enhance CE in EWSs to improve disaster preparedness.||