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Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: A Not-So-New Culture to Value Life

By Admin | Rabu, 10 Desember 2014 | 3018 views
"I was hospitalized for five days because of physical exhaustion. It was due to heavy task to evacuate down
to the slope while carrying my daughter (a child with physical disabilities). I kept taking care of her in the temporary shelter with all the limitations. Even in the hospital, I had to take care of her since no one else was able to help her
and meet the need of her disabilities. My husband works as migrant worker in Malaysia" Mrs. Sense (40 years old), shared her difficult life as survivor from Rokatenda volcano eruption which forced her to flee from Palue Island to
neighbouring island to safe their lifes.
"Not all families who had people with disabilities brought them along when leaving Palue Island.
Some of them remained in the village because it was not easy to take them down the slopes due to difficult terrain," adds Mrs. Sense.  She explained that Yulianti Weka, her second daughter (12 years old), suffered from fever when she was three-month old which suddenly changed her little one’s life with physical impairment and made her grow
unlike a normal child at her age.

"Honestly, I almost gave up on her and preferred to let her with others or took her in orphanage. Maybe you
could help me (as if to refer to the writer-Arshinta)," Mrs. Sense wished with her bitter face.

The conversation with Mrs. Sense in Flores, came up to me again as I followed the talk show which was held by Yakkum Rehabilitation Centre (PRY) in commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) year 2013 with a specific theme “Disaster Risk Reduction and Disability”. The talk show aims to identify and highlight the challenges in seeking the attention to address disability issues and its inclusion into disaster risk reduction, as well as to advocate the issue on disability to all parties in different levels.

Muhammad Joni Yulianto from SIGAB says that the phenomenon of disability is often left behind in many ways by many cultures, "The culture of ‘normalism’ is strongly instilled in the way of thinking of most communities. The figures of ‘hero’ are often associated with those who are powerful, healthy, tall, full of compete; unlike people with disability who are associated with those who are blind, cripple, or deaf. Parents prioritize to provide the needs of their normal children as children with disability are considered as an additional burden with no proficient capability for life”. Joni adds, “But if we look at, the Punakawans (in fabled ancient puppet show), who advised the Pandawas (heroes) in the Mahabharata saga, they actually represent a group of people with different physical disability. But, their existence as advisors in terms of policy and decision making in the story indicates that people with disability do have certain capabilities they can contributed in public".

"It is important to make disability issues and inclusive disaster risk reduction as a culture in the community. It isn’t only through cultural activities, such as message through kethoprak (shadow puppet performance) or by other art performances. But, further on how it encourages to form positive culture" Nurul Saadah Andriani from SAPDA affirms. Joni adds, “The logic is that when there is a system that is useful and able to be implemented for groups with special needs, such as people with disability; then this particular system can become a culture that is applicable and useful to the public".

Joni’s reflection is in line with the experience of Yakkum Extramural Unit which is observed by Sigit Wijayanta who says, "In Indonesia, the government allocates over IDR 100 million to take out one person from poverty, to alleviate poverty. But, from the experience of a group of people with disability in Karangmojo, who were given assistance, access to the bank and have been given business skills, and with less than IDR 10 million they can alleviate poverty with more sustainable manner. What does it mean? It means that they have the capacity, which sometimes
exceeds the ability of normal people."

The talk show, which was attended by 52 persons, has informed progresses in the policy and regulations, at the national and global levels, in relation to disability and disaster risk reduction. However, Jaimun from Yakkum Rehablitation Center (PRY) reminds us that challenges are still present, such as the attitudes and understanding of the community, including persons with disabilities toward their physical condition. The vast disaster prone area is intertwined with the poverty and all the problems in between, has attracted mobilization of resources (including financial) to ensure sustainability and self-reliance in inclusive disaster risk reduction.

Jaimun’s opinion is in agreement with Sigit Wijayanta’s when he delivers speech in the opening of the talk show. Disaster and poverty are entangled with each other, creating knotty situation. "Nearly 30% of the world population
lives below the poverty line, and approximately 60% -70% of people with disabilities in the world belong to the underprivileged groups. Their physical limitations usually associates with other problems, especially the challenges
to alleviate from poverty. In the event of a disaster, the vulnerability faced by people with disability increases significantly. Therefore, we should use this opportunity to eradicate poverty by addressing first people with
disabilities " as underlined by Sigit Wijayanta.

It brings back the story of Mrs. Sense when her husband has to be an illegal migrant worker to earn a living, while at the same time she has to live in an area with natural threat of eruptions without adequate preparedness initiative. Thus, she was forced to evacuate and got exhausted in order to save her daughter in any possible way. In despair out of worrying her daughter, she is willing to let her beloved daughter in the hands of others. I recount in grievance, “What should we do with this situation?”

"Disaster management cannot be done solely by a group of people or an institution. It is indeed necessary to build a mutual collaboration with various parties in the event of disasters. According to the experience by disaster
management agency in the provincial level (BPBD in Yogyakarta province), the forum of disaster risk reduction is one of the effective tools since this serves as a platform where government, non-governmental organisations, academicians and private company able to collaborate for disaster preparedness and also to encourage
the enactment of the policy and/or regulation to effectively addressing the disaster management in the area", Danang Samsurizal, from BPBD in Yogyakarta expresses his thought.

Sari Mutia Timur, M.D. is in agreement with the statement of Danang Samsurizal while delivering the guidelines on accountability in the humanitarian initiatives and community development. “The public should be able to monitor the extent to which government and non-governmental institution, like Yakkum Emergency Unit, with accountable manner and with competent, as well as to ensure coordination with various parties, especially with the community"
With better coordination amongst actors, the culture of inclusiveness, along with contribution from people with disability, will surely improve disaster management and reduce the underlying risks.

“I truly expect that Yulianti Weka still be in the care of her mother, the disability issue in disaster can be appropriately addressed through shifting the paradigm of the public; that human being regardless his/her
physical ability or disability is truly a precious soul” 

(Arshinta, October 2013)

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