Opening OSM Training in Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur

Monday, September 17th 2012 was the first day of OSM training in Kupang, the largest city on the Indonesian side of Timor Island. This training was a collaboration of AIFDR (Australian Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction), Humanitarian Open Street Map (HOT) and the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB). The training was the first step towards creating contingency plans in the NTT province, and five other provinces in Indonesia, namely West Papua, South Sulawesi, East Java, West Java and West Sumatra.

After the introduction by Kristy Van Putten of AIFDR, there was a presentation by Mr. Chess Sudiro, a representatives from the Indonesian Society for Disaster Prevention (MPBI), which focuses on the development of contingency planning scenarios. He said that BNPB has developed an international curriculum for the training of disaster contingencies. Mr. Chess Sudiro discussed three ways of rehearsing disaster scenerios:

(1) Organize, coordinate, and prepare- Understand the area,conditions and circumstances. Create goals for mitigating disaster impact. Work together with technical and management groups to prevent or reduce consequences of a disaster. This a long process but very necessary for preventing injury and distruction.
(2)’Ground truth’- Go out into the field; observe areas, potential hazards, weak structures, etc.
(3) Create solutions- Make maps; Plan for evacuations and relocation sites

The questions that need to be asked and answered are endless. But, in order to prevent catastrophe we need to discover what impact of each possible disaster will be.
What regions will experience what disasters? What populations will they affect? the poor? the elderly? How many people will need to be evacuated? When they need to be evacuated? Which buildings?

An important method to determine some of these answers is through a gap analysis. This type of measurement calculates what resources are needed after a disaster and what resources are currently available. In measuring the gap of resources we can have a better hold on the capacity of a population. To inventory our current resources we are using open source software: OpenStreetMap, QGIS and Inasafe.

In this province, there are three specific threats that have been identified: droughts, volcanoes and floods. The are is quite barren and has a long dry season, which makes it a contendor for droughts and fires. This area also experiences a wet season which makes it susceptible to floods, as well as tsunamis from earthquakes. Many islands in the NTT province is located on or very close to a faultline– closer than many other Indonesian islands. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions are very possibble (There are 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia and two are located in this province).
The first half of the day ended with remarks by Mr. Josua, a representatives from NTT AIFDR, and Mr. Tini Thaddeus, the Chief Executive Mr. BPBD NTT. Mr. Thaddeus Tini said that the disaster management team must be a strong institutional organization. They must work from the provincial level to the community level to cope with disaster planning. In NTT, the number of people and resources exist for disaster prevention planning; however, when dealing with disasters you can never be truly prepared. Practice and experience are still missing. Therefore, social capital and training is necessary for undertaking remedial action in the face of disasters.