Local Attitudes and Approaches to Tsunamis in Southern Indonesia

Authors: Chad Emmett*, Brigham Young University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Asia
Keywords: Indonesia, tsunami
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that devastated northern Sumatra, other coastal areas of Indonesia have become more pro-active in preparing for future tsunamis. Based on field research of interviews, observations and surveys conducted in Indonesia in the summers of 20016 and 2017, this paper will compare and contrast local attitudes about and preparations for tsunamis on the coasts of Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumba. Some of the differences include limited belief on the island of Sumba that the island could ever experience a tsunami to near universal awareness on Bali to the extent that tourist hotels now seek out government issued tsunami certifications to ensure that tourists feel safe staying at beach front resorts. Interestingly, among the Hindus on Bali, Christians on Sumba, and Muslims on Lombok and Java there were those who feel like devotion to God(s) could be the best protection. Local disaster mitigation officials as well as school children readily accepted an easy approach to tsunami mitigation: if the earth shakes for more than 20 seconds, they have 20 minutes to evacuate to a safe height (tall building or hill) of 20 meters.

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