“The attitude of the head of our district (mayor/bupati) changed, the way he saw our village organization and our role in protecting our community. He realized that our plea is important to be attended as we actually befriend with such network as wide as YAKKUM and ACT Alliance” Suparmin 35 years old said with local accent having difficulty in pronouncing ACT Alliance’s name. He is member of what so called KMSB (Kelompok Masyarakat Siaga Bencana) or village disaster task force in Muncar village, Temanggung District Central Java Province. This village organization is concerned in disasters management, particularly the landslides risk which has been threatening their lives for generations. He just dropped by at YEU office in Yogyakarta 3 days after the ACT Global workshop concluded on September 9, 2011 and eager to tell us this message. Forty participants of ACT DRR Global Workshop took place from 4-9 September 2011 in Yogyakarta Indonesia went to the field visits in Pangandaran (West Jawa), Temanggung, Sragen and Solo (Central Java) and in Gunung Kidul (Yogyakarta) and had intensive discussion with the people who face various disaster risks in their respective areas like tsunami, flood, landslides and drought and paid courtesy visit to the Government in respective district as they are the important component in disaster management. They are the duty bearer. “The Bupati confirmed that the relocation plan will be updated to us and we are welcomed for giving any suggestions relevant. In community side, we will pay attention to timing as rain may come soon and plan B if the plan is again delayed,” he added to answer our question what is the next plan to do after such discussion in the Bupati office the other day.
When posed with a concern raised during discussion with ACT that a possible hidden interest may be vested in such relocation idea and it could be the case in his village as the landslides so far actually remains as a risk and never turned into a real disaster, they only smiled. “Do you know Mr Edy, whose house became venue of our discussion last week? He never locks his house for more than 5 years, especially during the night (thing which is very uncommon in Indonesia as thieves may come and steal your properties inside home) because his family lives just next to hill slopes. He is afraid that anytime especially during rainy season; the hill may come down, hit them and sweep them away down to the vale. We certainly need to be aware of such worry of hidden agenda behind this relocation plan but we also admit that it is tiring to live under such fear for generations” Suparmin shared.
Blawong Wetan kampong is located in Muncar village, Temanggung district in Central Java Province. Located 550 – 780 meter above sea level, Blawong is inhabited by 182 families. Most of the people in Blawong Wetan are farmers who plant coffee, palm, vanilla, corn, bananas and others short term plants. Thi is a hilly area that mainly consists of steep hills, and is composed of sandy clay sediments which is one of the factors that cause land movement. Besides that, high intensity of rainfall and rapid development of human settlements and their activities become the trigger factor for small or large scale of land movement that can threaten the safety of local inhabitants. The community observed since 1963 that more and more soil cracks shown in their entire kampong. Even in some spots, few houses have been destroyed as the soil moves down right inside the houses. Some academic researches done by prominent scholars in Geology engineering confirmed the risk of landslides in this kampong. As noted by Kartika Sari the scholar from The Gadjah Mada University, the model of community based organization of KMSB can be a model for capacity building of communities living in vulnerable areas and should be replicated by Government of Temanggung district in other villages as part of disaster mitigation efforts.
“Knowing this kind of concern of disaster risk awareness is shared with others around the world gives us confidence that we do the right things in our life, protecting our lives” Suparmin concluded our conversation on that humid afternoon.
The same message should be once again confirmed in the reign of DRR Day this year which commemorated on October 13, 2011. The power of joining hands, the impact of our Alliance’s work in local level and clear yet simple strategy for bringing up the voice of the unheard are something that our Alliance should be proud of. Our Alliance is our advocacy tool. (ARS/14092011)
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