The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Several provinces are better prepared to deal with natural disasters than Jakarta, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said Friday.
"There are six provincial administrations that are the most concerned with weather changes as well as natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis," agency head Sri Woro B. Harijono said during a meeting with members of the Regional Representatives Council.
She said the provinces of West Sumatra, Lampung, Banten, Central Java, Maluku and Gorontalo were all well prepared for any disaster.
"For instance, Gorontalo provincial administration was the first to request the agency install a server to detect earthquakes and tsunamis," Sri told reporters.
The server is equipped with software that will automatically alert local citizens with sirens whenever an earthquake is detected.
The Gorontalo administration, she said, paid to have one installed in the middle of last year. West Sumatra then followed suit.
"Meanwhile, Central Java and Lampung have provided, respectively, a building for a climatology monitoring station and a plot of land for a weather radar tower," she said.
The Jakarta administration, however, is notable only for its lack of action, she said.
"The Jakarta administration has yet to take such action as the other six provinces," Sri said.
"May be the administration thinks that the city is not on the continental plate that might cause earthquakes and tsunamis," she added.
She said that her agency had sent a prediction for torrential rain to the administration on Feb. 1 at 00:20 a.m., a day before the floods hit Jakarta.
"Concerned institutions that receive data sent by the agency should take follow-up action," Sri said.
The Jakarta Public Works Agency's water resources development division said it had acted after receiving the forecast.
"We disseminated the information to related institutions. We also began operating flood posts for victims, shortly after we received the information," the head of the division, I Gede Nyoman Soewandi, told The Jakarta Post.
"We did not, however, predict that the heavy rain would cause this much damage," he added.
So far the flooding in Greater Jakarta has killed 54 people, forced at least 340,000 from their homes, and left more than 200,000 homeless.
Prih Harjadi, deputy for data systems and information at the BMG, said the dissemination of such information needed to be comprehensive and support public awareness and preparedness for natural disasters.
"Sophisticated technology to disseminate information swiftly will not be useful should the people be unaware and unprepared," said Prih.
"Local administrations should also take part in increasing public awareness and preparedness for natural disasters. The administrations should make a plan to help residents evacuate when a natural disaster occurs," he added.