From the December 26 Jakarta Post, an Op-Ed by Syamsidik, head of applied research at the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) and a lecturer in the civil engineering department of Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh.
The eighth anniversary of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami will fall on Dec. 26. The disastrous event effected many changes not only in Indonesia, but also in the international disaster management paradigm.
Nevertheless, eight years after the event, unintentional or intentional actions by communities and government agencies seem to have led to a downgrade in the awareness of and preparedness for future disasters.
Although a less focused effort on disaster risk-reduction in official documents might not be apparent, the underlying concerns are real.
Intensive measures on disaster prevention and mitigation are only visible when major disasters occur with an overwhelming impact on human life. It is only natural that people tend to forget things after years have passed and the grieving and fear are gone.
The only way to fight this disaster amnesia is to be bold in promoting disaster risk-reduction at community level and in government policies and programs.
Unfortunate lessons obtained from past disasters notwithstanding, experience should be the key guide in increasing community and regional preparedness for future disasters. Past disasters do provide some basis for prediction of future disasters. MORE