Disaster Management: Why do we need more parks for preparing towards disaster threats?

This article is firstly published in The Jakarta Post. On The Post’s website is the edited version by the Jakarta Post’s editors. Here, you can read the original draft of the writing. Please enjoy.

In the world of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) cities will need more parks for preparing towards disaster effects. Global threats, such as climate change has increased and intensified disaster occurrence and its effects. For example, in Asia Pacific, disaster caused by hydrometeorological, such as typhoon and flood are increasing. In Indonesia, disaster data from National Disaster Management Organisation (BNPB) shows almost 2000 disaster occurrence every year, and 90% of them caused by hydrometeorological.

The country which is located and as part of Ring of Fire also suffers because of geological hazard. In 2018, new type of disaster related to geological also occurred, namely liquefaction after earthquake and tsunami in Palu; and silent tsunami because of volcanic activities in Mount Krakatoa in the Sunda strait.

Facing the challengers, Indonesia should be prepared to reduce the effects of disaster. This activity often is called as disaster mitigation strategy. The mitigation measures consist of two major efforts, namely structural and non-structural strategies.

A number of examples of structural measures are the development of infrastructure such as dike, levees, river normalisation, implementing building codes, and other development of physical buildings.

Meanwhile, for non-infrastructure measures, some examples are education, earthquake and tsunami drill, campaign, and capacity development.

One example of structural measures which is rarely being mentioned is the development parks. The common understanding for park is its role for children playground, sport activities, and networking. Even, parks become the place for conducting musical concert, festival, and others communities’ activities.

In term of disaster preparations, we should consider also the role of parks. In this open area, responders from the governments and other humanitarian actors can set up the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for managing the disaster. Moreover, in this area can be setting up for Internal Displaces Persons (IDPs) camps.

If a park would like to be assigned as EOC or IDPs camps, then the park needs to be facilitated with various amenities. Firstly, it needs to have water supply facility both for responders and IDPS. Secondly, together with water facility it also should have toilets and latrines facilities. By having there two facilities basic needs for responders and IDPs can be fulfilled.

Thirdly, the park also should have power outlet and enough lamps arrangement which can be useful both in normal and an emergency. Fourth is the development of warehouse near the park to store logistics and equipment.

The fifth aspect is the park also need to consider the traffic arrangement in its surrounding. By establishing good traffic management, vehicles that would be entering or exiting the parks environment can move smoothly and avoid traffic congestion. Therefore, it will support also the evacuation and logistics fulfilment process.

Finally. and the most important aspect is the location of the park which should be not in a high risk area towards particular disaster. Meaning to say, if a disaster happens, the park would not be affected.

Additional facilities which also important during emergency response is for health and education. Hospital will be helpful to be situated near the park to take care those in the needs for health treatment. Meanwhile, school which is close to the park also can help children of IDPs who require to presume their education. 

An example of such park would be in many cities in Java Island where a big park called ‘Alun-Alun’ would be situated in the middle of the city. Here, not only park, but its surrounding in four different directions would serve different objectives. In the east side, usually is the location of markets. The west side is the location of religious buildings, such as mosque or church. Meanwhile, for the south and north sided is the location for governments offices.

By these arrangements, if Alun-Alun or park in the middle of the city would be designated as EOC and IDPs camps, it will have many supporting infrastructures These infrastructures are important for supporting the needs of booth responders and IDPs. In turn, for having such infrastructure and amenities in the park, the disaster management activities can run smoothly and successfully.However, these parks usually can only be found in one area in every city. Meanwhile, disaster often happen in the remote areas where far away from the park. Therefore, the similar park with a smaller scale, but similar surrounding facilities should be built in every sub-districts to make it close to areas at risks.

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