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Top Indonesian Legislator Urges Public to Maintain Tsunami Drills

September 29, 2020, 06.57 PM

JAKARTA, – Local leaders and residents of the southern part of Java island have been advised to brace themselves for a major tsunami with 20-meter waves.

Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) or Upper House chief Bambang ‘Bamsoet’ Soesatyo gave the advice after a team from Bandung Institute of Technology’s (ITB) Global Geophysics Group published on the September 17 edition of the Nature academic journal a study on the possibility that the natural disaster might occur.

“There are nine regencies and cities on the southern coast [of Java] that might be affected by the tsunami if it occurs,” Bamsoet said in a written statement on September 28.

Also read: Twin Earthquakes Shake Indonesian Province of Banyuwangi

“Of these, at least 156 villages in the Banyuwangi, Pacitan and Trenggalek areas need our attention because they will bear the brunt of the [tsunami].”

The Golkar party stalwart commended the East Java Provincial Administration, particularly the the Regional Disaster Management Authority (BPBD) for initiating emergency tsunami drills in the areas that are possibly hard hit.

But Bamsoet warned that the authorities still have their work cut out for them. “[The drills] are needed to keep the public alert, which is indispensable as we do not have the technology that can predict when and where the tsunami will occur,” he said.

“The authorities should keep the lines of communication open to the public so as to prevent them panicking when the tsunami comes. Doing so is a first step to effective disaster management.”

Also read: Series of Earthquakes Rattles Indonesia

Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) Earthquake and Mitigation head Daryono advised the public not to panic about the ITB study. “The study is supposed to be a hypothetical disaster management exercise.” 

“Unfortunately [some people] misunderstood, and assumed that [the tsunami] will occur soon. This is due to the discrepancy between how [the ITB academics] and the public interpret the data and information, especially as the latter’s education varies.”

The possibility of a large tsunami continued to haunt Indonesia, since the country was struck by a 9.1 Richter Scale tsunami that killed over 200,000 people in the province of Aceh on Boxing Day 2004.

(Writers: Dani Prabowo, Ellyvon Pranita | Editors: Dani Prabowo, Holy Kartika Nurwigati Sumartiningtyas)


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