Geographically, Indonesia is an archipelago situated among two continents and two oceans. The country is also the meeting point of three main world tectonic plates, which made it a disaster-prone area. As a consequence, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters such as flood, acute drought, tsunami, earthquake, volcano eruption, and burning forest (UNEP, 2005). The abundant natural resources, densely populated in some areas, evidence of social gap, and an uncontrollable natural resources management, are factors that increased escalation and type of disaster. At the same time, Indonesia is confronting environmental problems such as deforestation, water pollution from the industry’s waste, water pollution in the cities, technological accidents, and fog caused by burning forest (Bakornas Penanggulangan Bencana dan Penanganan Pengungsi, 2005). Both natural and man-made disasters are features of everyday life in Indonesian societies. This article discusses natural disaster and man-made disasters, its impacts as well as responses. The man-made disasters had colored the complexity of disaster in Indonesia based on the negative effects of multi dimension crisis that triggered communal conflicts in several regions, and self determination movements in Aceh and Papua, which resulted in internally displaced persons in some areas. Indeed natural and man-made disasters are disastrous to Indonesian societies. While impacts of natural disasters in Indonesia is seen in data released by The National Agency of Disaster Management which reported 343 natural disasters in 2008 only, started from flood (58%), followed by cyclone (16%), landslide (12%), flood and landslide (7%), wave and abrasion (2%), earthquake (2%), forest burning (2%), forest and land burning (0.3%), and volcano eruption (0.3%). The overall victims were dead and lost during the natural disasters were 245 persons, started from landslide (73 persons), followed by flood (68 persons), flood and landslide (54 persons), earthquake (12 persons), burning forest (32 persons), and cyclone (3 persons).
In addition to the above, the there were 647,281 persons suffered and displaced from the natural disaster in 2008. The highest victims were caused by flood (587,190 persons), followed by victims of earthquake (24,002 persons), victims of flood and landslide (15,915 persons), victims of volcano eruption (9,708 persons), from wave and abrasion (3,911 persons), people fled from cyclone (2,564 persons), caused by burning forest (2,392 persons), and victims of landslide (1,599 persons). In 2008, the has been an increasing number of destroyed houses because of natural disaster reached 34.412 houses, with the highest rate caused by flood (20,046 houses), earthquake (8,254 houses), cyclone (2,574 houses), flood and landslide (1,396 houses), wave and abrasion (1,063 houses), landslide (681 houses), and forest burning (396 houses) as reported by the National Agency on the Disaster Management in the same year.
One might wonder why disaster casualties, especially natural ones, are quite high. Perhaps this relate to the fact that according to typology of disaster-prone area, Indonesia is an area with high hazard potential. The conclusion is resulted from high numbers of earthquake, tsunami, flood, volcano eruption, landslide, cyclone, and forest burning which indicate that Indonesia is indeed disaster-prone. Meanwhile hazard potentials in Indonesia can be categorized into main hazard potential and collateral hazard potential. Main hazard potentials are divided according to the map of natural disasters in Indonesia such as earthquake-prone areas, landslide-prone maps, volcano eruption maps, tsunami-prone areas, and flood-prone areas. The above indicators had showed the high hazard potency of Indonesia as formulated on the Regulation of Ministry of Home Affairs 33/2006 on the Procedure of the Disaster Mitigation.
Whilst collateral hazard potential in Indonesia can be viewed from following indicators such as number of wooden houses, the densely populated buildings, and densely hazardous industries. The collateral hazard potential occurs in the cities with dense population, densely populated building, and the number of wooden houses that mostly situated in slum areas and the high number of hazardous industries. Urban areas have high collateral hazard potential as mentioned in the Regulation of Ministry of Home Affairs 33/2006 on the Procedure of the Disaster Mitigation.
Let us now turn to disaster management responses. Disaster management in Indonesia has been done mostly by the government’s responses toward a disaster by giving out of humanitarian aids, and concentrate during the emergency phase as stated in the above regulation. So far government approached disaster management partially, sector oriented, and less integrated, which made disaster response less effective. Currently Indonesian government scheme is made in line with the practice of local autonomy and with involvement of non-governmental organizations, which disaster management system. Local autonomy as a paradigm is aimed at serving several ideals: empowering local government, getting the delivery of services closer to public, managing local resources as well as risk management, and in the process enable the accountability of local government. However in reality the transfer of authority from central government to local government has not been complemented with shared responsibility to protect the society. As a consequence, in the emerging of disaster, local government’s responses often late whole hoping for greater response from central government. The situation became more complex when disaster emerged in many areas. Furthermore, mostly during disaster period, less coordination in government’s agencies caused less rapid and less massive responses, also ineffective as formulated in the Regulation of Ministry of Home Affairs 33/2006 on the Procedure of the Disaster Mitigation.
It is quite clear that disaster management is a form of state responsibility to protect the societies because they hope the government would response fully toward the disasters. Disaster management should be an integrated management by the government to involve actively of the societies. The integrated approach on the disaster management calls for better coordination among government bodies and non-government organizations as well as international bodies as it required by the government regulations above.
Geopolitics in Humanitarian Action by the NOHA Groningen (2007-2008) formulated that disaster management became international concern because of these following reasons. First, there were unpredictable and unwanted rapid natural and social changes. Second, the drastic natural and social changes became threat to all human aspects. Third, human being faces threat in the daily life. Fourth, the threat crosses groups, areas, and state boundaries. Fifth, there were natural and human resources scarcity to solve the disasters.
Both unpredictable and unwanted rapid social changes have specific criteria’s if one to understand disaster-prone situation and the resources scarcity which often occur during post disaster situation. These criteria’s are basic considerations before applying any humanitarian intervention. The existing threat in all human aspects is an important factor in determining beneficiaries of humanitarian aid at both individual and group levels. Such threats take forms in the lacking of basic needs namely water, also in an emerging threat such as water pollution which made water undrinkable. When the threat came into the daily life of groups, it should be solved. Disaster becomes public concern since internal resources cannot solve the problems. In this sense humanitarian emergency is explained through the impacts of natural and man-made disasters. (Emilia Yustiningrum)