UNISDR data states, in the study of the population, or the number of people in areas that might lose their lives due to disasters, Indonesia disaster risk is very high.


Potential and Disaster Threats

Disasters can be caused by natural disasters or man-made disasters. Factors that can cause disasters include:
Natural hazards and man-made hazards according to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) can be grouped into Geological Hazards, Hydro-meteorological Hazards, Biological Hazards, Technological Hazards and Environmental Degradation. High vulnerability in the community, infrastructure, and elements at risky disasters cities/regions. Low capacity of various components in the community.

Geographically, Indonesia is an archipelago located at the confluence of four tectonic plates, the Continent of Asia, the Continent of Australia, the plate of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In the south and east of Indonesia there is a volcanic arc that extends from Sumatra - Java - Nusa Tenggara - Sulawesi, whose sides are old volcanic mountains, and lowlands, and dominated by swamps. These conditions are very prone to disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and landslides. Data shows that Indonesia is one of the countries that has a high seismic rate in the world, more than 10 times the rate of seismicity in the United States (Arnold, 1986).

Earthquakes caused by tectonic plate interactions can cause tidal waves when they occur in the ocean. With areas that are strongly influenced by the movement of these tectonic plates, Indonesia often experiences tsunamis. Tsunamis in Indonesia are mostly caused by tectonic earthquakes along subduction areas and other active seismic regions (Puspito, 1994). During the period of 1600-2000 there were 105 tsunami events where 90 percent were caused by tectonic earthquakes, 9 percent by volcanic eruptions and 1 percent by landslides (Latief et al., 2000). The coastal areas in Indonesia are prone to tsunami disasters, especially the west coast of Sumatra, the southern coast of Java Island, the north and south coasts of the Nusa Tenggara islands, the islands in Maluku, the north coast of Irian Jaya and almost the entire coast of Sulawesi. Maluku Sea is the most tsunami prone area. In the period of 1600-2000, there were 32 tsunamis in this area where 28 of them were caused by earthquakes and 4 by the eruption of volcanoes under the sea.

Indonesia’s territory is located in a tropical climate with two seasons, dry and rain, with quite extreme characteristics of changes in weather, temperature and wind direction. These climatic conditions, combined with surface topographic conditions and rocks that are relatively diverse physically and chemically, may produce fertile soil conditions. Contrary, this condition can cause some adverse consequences for humans such as the occurrence of hydro-meteorological disasters such as floods, landslides, forest fires and droughts. As time goes by and increasing in human activity, environmental damage tends to get worse, and triggers the increase of number occurrences and intensity of hydro-meteorological disasters (floods, landslides and droughts) that occur alternately in many regions in Indonesia. In 2006 alone, there were landslides and flash floods in Jember, Banjarnegara, Manado, Trenggalek and several other areas. Although development in Indonesia has been designed with minimal environmental impacts, the development process still has a detrimental effect on the environment and ecosystem. Development that relied on the exploitation of natural resources (especially on a large scale), has caused the loss of these resources benefits to the lives of the surrounding communities. From year to year, forest resources in Indonesia are decreasing, while the exploitation of mineral resources also involve in damaging the ecosystems, which often lead to increased disaster risk, physically.

On the other hand, the pace of development also makes people easy on accessing science and technology. However, due to the lack of proper policy on the application of technology, it often leads to fatal technological failures, such as transportation accidents, industry, and the occurrence of disease outbreaks due to high human mobilization. Another potential disaster is the demographic diversity factor in Indonesia. Indonesia population in 2004 reached 220 million, consisting of various ethnic groups, religions, and customs. This diversity is the wealth of the Indonesian people that no other nation has. But because of high population growth, as well as imbalances in policy; economic development; social; and infrastructure; then there are gaps in several aspects and sometimes social jealousy appears. This condition has the potential to cause conflict in society which can develop into a national disaster.