Fallen trees lie scattered around the Miu river in Tuva village, District Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Part of a bridge – the vital connection for residents –collapsed in the earthquake that struck the region in 2018 The community has struggled to transport their goods to the market in the provincial capital Palu. Now nearly two years later, the reconstruction work has begun, raising hopes of the community who are suffering the double burden of of the natural disaster, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic

Indeed, the double burden shouldered by communities in disaster-hit areas was at the heart of our October edition SDG Talks titled “Youth are Ready: Tackling the Double Burden of Poverty and Natural Disasters”. As always, we pressed on the discussion with the burning question “What can You and Youth do to address these twin challenges?”

“It is important that we create resilience – and empower communities affected by disaster to become more resilient”, said Sophie Kemkhadze, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Indonesia during the opening remarks

October’s SDG Talks marked the International Day for the Eradication for Poverty (observed on Oct. 17) and also the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (observed on Oct. 13). With over 400 attendees, the talks focused on getting the millenial generation- involved in building forward better as Indonesia works through the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Armed with evidence, Rima Prama Artha, UNDP Indonesia’s economist outlined some revealing findings from the latest survey conducted by UNDP Indonesia, UNICEF, and SMERU Institute,

“We found that around 82.7 percent of families in disaster areas have no savings to help them recover,” she said.

The rapid survey involved 887 respondents In East Lombok, North Lombok in the province of West Nusa Tenggara and Sigi and Palu in Central Sulawesi between July and August 2020. It also found that the pandemic had a significant impact on 47.2 percent of households with a monthly income of less than IDR 1 million.

Lilik Kurniawan, the Deputy of Prevention and Preparedness at Indonesia’s Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) said post-recovery journey should entail ‘build back better’ principles encompassing all aspects of communal living.

“When we talk about post disaster recovery, we are talking about infrastructure recovery and human capital- economically, socially, as well as to ensure access to education and food security,” he said.

The voice of the young people is represented by environmentalist and Instagram influencer, Anisa Mawarningrum, who has been actively promoting volunteerism to young people in her social media platform.

“We realise that being with people who are affected by disasters provides a support system. Many of their basic necessities have disappeared and those who live in the more secluded areas most affected.”

Ratnawati Muyanto, Social Protection Specialist from UNICEF said, ”in the longer term, youth can actively nurture their entrepreneurship skills to enhance the local economy and to trigger a multiplier effect.”

Budhi Ulaen, Project Manager for UNDP’s Programme for Earthquake and Tsunami Infrastructure Reconstruction Assistance (PETRA) responded,” Empathy and feeling the burden and difficulty to recover and build back better is how young people can participate on the recovery after disasters.” He also noted that collaboration among stakeholders is also important for supporting recovery.

UNDP Indonesia and BNPB have been actively working together with regional governments and survivors. For instance, on the drafting of a reliable database and information related to disasters. UNDP Indonesia has also actively participated in Post Disaster Needs Assessment (Jitupasna in Indonesian), UNDP has also conducted a series of consultations and coordination meetings with regional governments, communities, donors, and other developmental agencies as part of its post disaster support programmes which also include evaluations and surveys.


Writing by Enggi Dewanti, edited by Ranjit Jose


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