July 30, 2016
Today we began our vulnerability assessments at four different villages. This is an exciting opportunity for the workshop participants to visit a community and collect data for an assessment. They are tasked with collecting top-down and bottom-up data through statistics and official figures, and interviews with the community.
Each village had a multi-stakeholder assessment team, including university researchers/lecturers, local disaster agency staff, NGOs, and others.
We convened at the training site for some basic logistic instruction and teams were off to their respective sites, two villages in Ternate, and two in Tidore.
This post covers the assessment from the group that visited an urban village (kelurahan) called Makassar Timur. As the name of the village suggests, this is an area with a long history of local populations, and a high number of migrants who come to work at the nearby marketplace. As it is along the coast, some also work as fishermen. According to one proud local resident, “1,001 ethnic groups are represented her, and that all of Indonesia could be found in this one small kampung (village).”
Kelurahan Makassar Timur underwent change when a major land reclamation project changed the coastline between 1999 – 2004. Although the reclamation supported urban economic development for the island, it also created some difficult development challenges for this village. On the one hand, the reclamation project also helped to reduce tidal flooding that used to affect the area. However, reclamation also resulted in backflow from upstream runoff that has created a new form of flooding hazards. Reclamation also allowed for new land area to be filled in with local informal housing. These areas are usually important for drainage functions and many of the homes are built on stilts.
Drainage problems have also resulted in environmental health concerns. Trash has built up from lack of waste disposal options. Waste from the upstream areas also tends to collect in this area.
Water supply is another challenge as well as the available clean water has experienced salt water intrusion in recent years. Piped connections from the water utility do not tend to cover this area, and when they do, that water is also salty. Other people have self-organized a system of wells that they can pay into.
Sanitation is also difficult in a low-lying and frequently inundated area as this one. Septic tanks are difficult to install and there have been some innovative efforts by NGOs to build floating septic tanks.
Fires are also a major problem for this village. In 2003 and 2009 fires completely razed the area but within months people had quickly rebuilt their structures. We met with the Lurah (Village Headman) and he convened a focus group discussion of all the RT and RWs (neighborhood wards), and also invited other representative groups from the community to attend. We had a rich discussion about the complex local vulnerabilities.
There are a lot of local community and non-government organizations that take part in addressing these issues. The mayor has sent a directive to provide support for reducing risks in this kelurahan. The local disaster management agency is eager to help out by conducting risk assessments and to begin coordinating planned interventions and it seems that our simulated efforts will be developed into more long-term planning efforts.