For students in Bali’s Tanjung Benoa village, going to school means a cycle ride or a walk through some the Island’s picturesque spots, where elaborate carved Hindu temples dot the crowded seaside neighborhood.
Home to dozens of international hotels and a conference hub, Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa is known for its white sandy beaches and calm crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The scenic spot of Tanjung Benoa, however, is prone to tsunamis, due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, with waves reaching 20 meters high. As part of efforts to create resilience in the village and beyond, UNDP in partnership with Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency (BNPB);Badung District Disaster Management Agency, and with funding from the Government of Japan, recently conducted a tsunami preparedness drill.
At least 600 students from local elementary and junior high schools began the drill early in the morning of Friday, December 17, with support from the local community, the indigenous village of Tanjung Benoa. Following instructions from their teachers, and using health protocols, students marched from their classroom and headed to the nearest hotel assigned as the evacuation point.
These drills have been conducted around Tanjung Benoa and Jimbaran Bay since 2017 and have helped the local community develop resilience to disaster. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with hotels in Tanjung Benoa has helped create a safe space for residents in a region best known for its vibrant tourism industry. It is widely believed that these structures, with multiple stories, could save hundreds of lives in the event of a tsunami.
The drill took place at a site where delegates of the upcoming summit of the Global Platform for DRR (GPDRR), a global biannual event hosted by the United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), will conduct a field visit between 23-28 May 2022.
I Wayan Wirya, Acting Head of Provincial Disaster Management Agency in Badung district expressed his gratitude and future hopes for communities in Badung area. “The relationship between the communities and local stakeholders shows the solidarity and humanity among the people of the region. Today we have witnessed how, with efficient collaboration and good communication, led by UNDP, our children are better prepared for future disasters,” he said.
I Wayan further explained the demographic challenges in Tanjung Benoa Village, noting “The zoning system has helped to regroup the local communities to guide them easily during emergencies. The cultural and administrative zoning sometimes overlapped previously and had created quite a distance between the various groups of people.”
During the drill, the local communities, including women’s Family Welfare Program group and an indigenous people’s group, contributed significantly to the preparation and the simulation event.
I Ketut Yudha, Head of Communities at Banjar Kertha Pascima in Tanjung Benoa village reflected on how local communities have actively been involved on disaster simulations since 2007. “We have seen that the simulation plays an important part in the education of our local communities as they prepare for disasters. Those who joined and helped the simulation today are not only supporting students but are also learning to create resilience among the wider community. I am grateful that the simulation went well,” he said.
Dian Tari, the secretary of the women’s group echoed Yudha agreed, saying. “Disasters happen at unprecedented times, and as parents we might not be able to always be with our children. Having students participate in the simulation exercise will help equip them with the skills necessary to protect themselves if, God forbid, a disaster happens.”
Indeed, in the words of a song that Ibu Adi, a teacher at State Junior High School 3 Kuta Selatan sang to the students as they prepared for the drill:
“If there is earthquake, cover your head,
if there is earthquake, get under the table
If there is earthquake, stay away from glass windows
if there is earthquake, run to the open space”
Written by Enggi Dewanti
Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose