1.999 Disasters in 2018, Thousands of Victims Have Died

JAKARTA - Indonesia is a disaster-prone country. Various disasters always occur each year. The trend of disasters also tends to increase from year to year. The alerting disaster risks include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, floods, landslides, droughts, forest and land fires, tornadoes and extreme weather. The high vulnerability and minimum capacity holds the potential to exacerbate the pre-exisiting disaster risks. Disasters are multidisciplinary, multisector, multidimensional and multicomplex in which they are interrelated thus they require a comprehensive and sustainable management. 

During 2018, until Thursday (10/25/2018), there are 1.999 disasters occurred in Indonesia. This record is likely  to increase until the end of 2018. The impact of the disaster was enormous. Insofar, 3.548 people were reported death or missing, 13.112 people were injured, 3.06 million people were displaced and affected by the disaster, 339.969 houses were severely damaged, 7.810 houses were moderately damaged, 20.608 houses were slightly damaged, and thousands of public facilities were damaged. 

The economic losses caused by the disaster are excessive. For instance, earthquakes in Lombok and Sumbawa caused damage and losses of approximately IDR 17.13 trillion. On the other side, earthquakes and tsunamis in Central Sulawesi caused losses and damage of over IDR 13.82 trillion. This number is expected to increase as assessment continues. 

During 2018, there were several disasters that caused significant casualties and losses, namely flash floods in Lampung Tengah on 2/26/2018 which left 7 casualties. A landslide disaster in Brebes, Central Java on 2/22/2018 which caused 11 people dead and 7 people missing. Flash floods in Mandailing Natal on 10/12/2018 that left 17 people dead and 2 people are missing. Continuous earthquakes in Lombok and Sumbawa on 29/7/2018, 5/8/2018, and 8/8/2018 have caused 564 people dead and 445.343 people displaced. The earthquake, tsunami, and liquefaction in Central Sulawesi on 28/9/2018 have left 2.081 casualties, 1.309 people missing and 206.219 people displaced.

Compared to previous years, the number of victim and missing people due to disasters in 2018 is higher than those in 2007. Although the frequency of recorded disasters is more or less similar as the ones which took place in 2016 (2.306 disasters) and 2017 (2.391 disasters), the impact caused by the disaster in 2018 is greater.

Between 2007 to 2018, Indonesia recorded major disasters which claimed many casualties in 2009, 2010 and 2018. In 2009, a quite strong earthquake occurred in West Java and West Sumatra - with a total 1.245 disasters taking place and resulted in  1.767 casualties, 5.160 injured people, and 5.53 million displaced individuals.

In 2010 there were 1.944 disasters, with the following notable major disasters recorded: Wasior flash flood, Mentawai tsunami, Mount Merapi eruption, and Mount Bromo eruption. The disasters led to 1.907 people dead/missing, 35.730 people were injured and 1.66 million people were displaced and affected by the disaster.

During 2018, the hydro-meteorological disaster remains dominant. The number of tornado was 605 events, 506 floods, 353 forest and land fires, 319 landslides, 55 volcanic eruptions, 33 tidal waves and abrasions, 17 damaging-earthquake, and 1 tsunami. The damaging-earthquakes and tsunamis are rare. But when it occurs, it often results in huge casualties and economic losses.

Disaster statistics show that our country is prone to disasters. In general, the level of community and local government readiness in facing major disasters is relatively low. Disaster mitigation, disaster readiness and disaster risk reduction need to be improved. Disaster risk reduction must be interpreted as a national development investment. Otherwise, the impact of the disaster will always cause huge casualties and large economic losses.

At present, Indonesian region will be having rainy season. It is estimated that floods, landslides and tornadoes will occur a lot during rainy season. Earthquakes cannot be predicted certainly. On average, in a year there are 5.000 – 6.000 earthquakes taking place globally. Earthquakes can occur at any time, especially in earthquake-prone areas.

People are encouraged to always be aware. Get to know the danger and reduce the risk.


Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

Head of BNPB's Data Information and Public Relations Center

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