Notes from the Field: Kampung Tanimbar, Manokwari

Guest Blog by Mega Anggraeni of IUCCE Semarang

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Participants from the climate change adaptation training conducted field visits to collect data and information to assess community vulnerability. Our site was located in Kampung Tanimbar. Our team consisted of various stakeholders including academics and university students, government agency representatives, NGOs, and health workers.

Members of the Kampung Tanimbar Group


Kampung Tanimbar is one of the more flood-prone areas in Manokwari. It is a small village with close to 500 residents. Before the mid 1990s, the location of the village was actually a forested area. People in the village began moving there, clearing the area, and now the demographics consist of people from the Arfak Mountains, Ambon and Manokwari.

Access Road to Kampung Tanimbar


Upon arrival at Kampung Tanimbar, we conducted a rapid transect to gather information prior to the focus group discussion (FGD) scheduled with the community. Our approach was to ask questions regarding flood-related information. During the FGD, most of our participants were local mothers and children because most of the men were at work. The men work as construction workers, motorcycle taxi drivers, and some are civil servants.

FGD process


This is one of the first experiences for this community to conduct a facilitated conversation about flooding. They relayed that this is a very pressing issue for them, and they were especially enthusiastic to convey information to us. We began collecting information using our vulnerability framework approach, examining issues through the lens of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity to floods.

Clean water is also an important issue for Kampung Tanimbar. The community obtains their water from shallow wells with a depth of about 2 meters. This water is muddy however, and people only use the wells for bathing and washing. Everyone has access to electricity, which is also important for pumps to access water. For cooking and drinking purposes, people buy water by the gallon at Rp 10,000 / gallon (about US$ 0.70). Each household uses 1 gallon of water for 2-3 days depending on the number of family members.

Flood Information from the Community at Kampung Tanimbar


Not long after Kampung Tanimbar became a settlement, in 1998 they experienced flooding. Every year hence, floods occur periodically during the rainy season — from October to January. The height of flooding in Kampung Tanimbar varies between 30 cm in the higher elevation areas to 120 cm depth in the lower elevation areas. Standing water is also highly dependent on rainfall, which also become vectors for mosquito-borne diseases.

In 2014 floods reached 120 cm and required people to evacuate. For shelter, the Tanimbar community seek refuge at the nearby church located in a higher elevated area north of the Kampung. In 2014 the community had to evacuate for 3 days. There were no casualties during the incident but they complained about the disruption it caused. In addition to physical losses of their belongings, people also experienced health problems such as itching, respiratory infection, diarrhea, and malaria.

One Resident Shows Water Height During the 2014 Flood


As a result of these flood experiences the community have come up with an informal evacuation system. When it rains for an extended period, people begin storing important belongings, including valuable goods, important documents and letters, and clothing into the attic. They also coordinate the placement of motor vehicles at a designated location.

Attics for Storing Valuable Documents and Clothing in the Event of Heavy Rainfall


In the Kampung Tanimbar area, government disaster programs has also begun to post evacuation signposts and routes.

Evacuation Signboard in Kampung Tanimbar


Residents with the means to do so have also taken action to protect their homes. In these cases they elevate the structure at the front door with walls and stairs higher than the road. In this way, when the floods arrive, the water is not able to enter their homes up to a certain level. They also have raised the top of their wells to stop flood water intrusion. The government also built a 220-meter-long wall along the edge of a drainage pass through the Kampung Tanimbar. The wall has helped to reduce flood impacts, but only to a certain extent.

Elevating Homes to Avoid Flooding


Our FGD lasted only about 2 hours. In a short time we had learned a lot. We also had additional time to conduct more targeted interviews and also walk transects through different areas of the Kampung. Over the next few days we worked on compiling all of this detailed information into a presentation of the rapid vulnerability assessment. We hope that presenting this information to the local government will also help to improve efforts to reduce flooding in Manokwari.



On the Road to Kampung Kali Merah

August 5, 2017

Blog post by Dr. Karl Kim, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and Director at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center

A diverse team including representatives of the local disaster agency, NGOs, and a group of nurses headed to Kampung Kali Merah which is approximately 25 KM west of Manokwari (as a bird flies) but considerably further because of the lack of roads.  The drive to Kali Merah took about two hours.  We took the southern route, even though it was longer, it was faster because of construction and other delays on the northern route.


The drive south took us past the airport and along a coastal roadway passing a massive concrete factory, complete with worker housing.


The plant appears to be quite new and rather modern.  It is a massive facility, quite different from other structures in the region.  Built by the Chinese, it is located on the coast to provide access to barges and shipping routes.  Equally impressive were the dormitory facilities provided for workers.


We also passed vast palm oil plantations.  There were both old growth forests which have been planted decades ago as well as newer forests with younger, productive trees.


We saw trucks laden with palm fruits to be processed into palm oil which is used in cosmetics, toothpaste, food products and as a biofuel.  Indonesia is now the worlds largest producer of palm oil. There is much projected growth of palm oil production in Papua.  While it provides jobs and income to the region, the impacts of mono-cropping on the environment and on local communities have been significant.  In addition to concerns about excessive water use and the destruction of forest areas, there are also significant social problems associated with palm oil production.


Upon arriving in Kampung Kali Merah, we were escorted to a rapidly eroding bank which has been the site of numerous floods.  The villagers described how the course of the river has changed and demonstrated for us both the depth and speed of the water flowing.  We were also told that there are many crocodiles in the river.  One of our hosts waded into the waters to show us both current conditions as well as the changes that occur during flood season.


There is no formal early warning system.  The villagers start monitoring the river when they see ominous dark clouds form against the mountains.  They send people further upstream to monitor rising water levels and also send men with flashlights to watch the river at night. The river can flood several times a year so that are familiar with the conditions.  They report that there were no fatalities.  The “victims” include their livestock (cattle, goats, pigs, chickens) as well as agricultural products.  Also, villagers report losing household possessions and motorbikes.  One villager reported that it floods so often that they don’t purchase goods such as sofas because they’ll get destroyed by the flood waters.  With they have built traditional elevated structures, the villagers hope that the government will construct a dam to prevent the flooding.


Following the visit to the river bank, the team went into Kampung Kali Merah for meetings with villagers.  In addition to describing the hazards and mapping the riverbank and the location of assets, the members of the community described various coping and adaptation strategies including where they evacuate to and also how the community works together to rebuild after flooding.  They noted that while they might be willing to move, they do not have the resources to purchase new land.  They are concerned that if they are relocated to new, safer land, they may not have the capacity to grow food or develop enterprises.

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More assessment of the flood risk and the potential for alternative risk reduction strategies is needed.  The potential for green infrastructure and the development of greater retention and detention areas as well as the continued use of elevated, stilt homes and structures might also be evaluated.  Some of the longer term challenges associated with new infrastructure investment (such as dam or levee construction) needs to be considered alongside other community improvements.  Larger on-going concerns relate to livelihoods and economic opportunities as well as continued improvements in health, education, and social welfare.


Arrival in West Papua, a visit to Lemon Island

Post by Dr. Dolores Foley, University of Hawai‘i, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
August 2, 2017
Flying into West Papua yesterday I was amazed at the extent of the forests. As you can see from the air, the undisturbed landscapes seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. Like many parts of the world however, development pressures have led to difficult choices that govern land. Papua is no exception, and as our bombardier flight gets closer to Manokwari you can see the beginnings of the logging trails, the palm plantations, the transmigration sites, and worker camps.
Agriculture is an important aspect of the economy in West Papua, engaging more than half the workforce and accounting for a significant portion of West Papua’s revenue. In the cities, rice has become the principal staple crop, although cassava, yams, soybeans, and corn are also important. The highlands especially prefer the tubers, which they call batatas, hasbi, and other names. We also had a great time trying the sticky sago palm, which are prepared by husking the trunks of the palm, crushing the stalk, and pressing to make the popular staple food across Eastern Indonesia: papeda.
Nutmeg, oil palm, and cocoa are major cash crops, and we hear about government plants to try out new cash crop industries like coffee. In contrast to other parts of Indonesia, we are also immediately aware of the importance of Pigs. Driving into the city upon our arrival at the airport we saw several scuttle across the road. Jordan, our new local friend, tells us that there are heavy fines to pay for female roadkill. Compensation is determined by the number of potential suckling offspring. Although services and trade are the next largest employers behind agriculture, manufacturing and mining are greater contributors to the overall economy. Petroleum products are the focus of the mining industry, although the region is also rich in copper, gold, nickel, and other minerals.
Picture 7
The previous blog discussed the coastal village of Sawai Bay There appears that unemployment is high and in both villages we visited, fishing was the mainstay. Our latest visit was to Lemon island. Once upon a time the Island was home to groves of calamansi (small lemon). Few remain and have since been replaced by coconut trees. It is a small island off the coast of the town of Manokwari, a popular local tourism destination, and is just a short 15 minute boat ride across the bay. There are only 215 residents on the island.
For link to this drone image see this link
There is something special about the small island feel, one which you can circumnavigate in less than an hour. Residents rely on fishing and gardening though some also bring local tourists over on the weekend from Manokwari. There are many boats along the beach most are used for fishing or for brigning local tourists back and forth.
We talked to residents about their perceptions of risk, and we were eager to understand more about the tsunami that took place in 1996. Many of the fishermen were out and most of the people encountered were not around when the event happened. We did find an elderly couple that remembered the event. It was much worse across in the Bay in Sawaibu, they told us, and as the waves passed the island they only experienced about  30-50 cm increase. No homes were affected. They were also on the leeward side of the pacific ocean, providing for a buffer against direct impacts.
These are just some of the issues that we will be examining throughout the week as part of our training workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. We will be visiting eight different sites over the next week in this exciting new place. We will be exploring issues that range from landslides, flooding, sea level rise, storms, erosion, and others. We will visit coastal areas and other sites further up in the hills.
On our way back from Lemon Island our boat stopped off at a local restaurant above the water. We ate local favorites of grilled fish, papaya flower salad, kangkung, and the local specialty of papeda served with a very spicy fish soup.

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Reflections of HOPE in West Papua

Blog Entry by Charles Ham, Global Disaster Response Coordinator at HOPE Worldwide
Aug 2, 2017
The preparations for a week-long workshop is becoming a reality. The trainers traveled from Hawaii, Bangkok, Bandung, Semarang, Jakarta and Ternate to convene in Manokwari for an exciting week with local stakeholders, officials, advocates, and other leaders. USAID, HOPE Worldwide, University of Hawaii, local partners Universitas Papua have all provided support to making this event happen. The objective is to try to streamline approaches to disaster risk reduction, and begin instituting measures for climate change adaptation. As I watched the kick off to the opening ceremony I could not help but reflect on the numerous serendipities that helped make this happen.
The Governor’s remarks initiated the event as relayed by one of his deputies. The rector indicated his pride of hosting the workshop. For Universitas Papua, the training is a major step as they have have begun taking a more active role in West Papua in building capacity and resilience towards disaster and climate challenges. The university began here in Manokwari as a small forestry school decades ago, and has now evolved into a solid state university with numerous programs.
As I sit down to be part of this opening ceremony, I reflect on the work that HOPE worldwide began in Manokwari after a strong earthquake affected the region in January 2009. I can recall so many people traumatized after the event, and I was struck by the our overall lack of understanding of disaster. At that time, the Vice Governor requested assistance in helping children and families to recover from the trauma. In 2010, just over a year later, a flash flood devastated Wasior in nearby Teluk Wondama Regency. Again and again, I am always moved by the local volunteers and staff motivated to help affected families. Such support extended long after the disasters, and I am always amazed by the continued commitment of our volunteer and staff which laster through the phases of economic recovery.
This is when we met Mr Derek Ampnir, who was given the task of initiating a Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD). For the past 7 yearr Mr Ampnir has continued to improve the local infrastructure in disaster management. In 2016, the province was given an award by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) as one of the best provincial BPBDs. This is notable recognition, although the eagerness to learn among the many gathered in this workshop highlight collective agreement that there is still a long way to go to get to the desired capacity.
The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and its National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) have been valuable partners in disaster management and capacity building in Eastern Indonesia. The team led by Dr Dolores Foley and Dr Karl Kim has evolved over the past five years and has achieved a vision of well-established universities and local agencies in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.
One of the great development of our collaborations in the past few years is the empowerment of the Forum for Higher Education in Disaster Risk Reduction in Eastern Indonesia (Forum PRB Indonesia Timur). The Forum consists of like-minded universities with varying capacities committed to increasing resilience in the region. Universitas Khairun, Universitas Pattimura, Universitas Cendrawasih, and Universitas Papua have emerged to take ledership roles as partners to network and share knowledge among each other while they also aim to empower smaller universities within their provinces.
As the ceremonial event transitioned into the nuts and bolts of training the overview began to lay out the exciting program on schedule in the week ahead. There will be interactive focus group discussions to engage the multiple backgrounds of participants to get the most out of our collective knowledge. In the coming days, participants will begin to learn the tools and frameworks, and reflect on the most recent lessons and case studies to begin incorporating into their day to day work.
Thinking about the disasters we’ve responded to, and helped recover from, I look around me at the group gathered around me and am encouraged for the implications that such trainings help to provide in building more resilient communities.