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Resosudarmo Asian Tsunami Indonesia v4

Resosudarmo Asian Tsunami Indonesia v4

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Published by Budy P. Resosudarmo

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Published by: Budy P. Resosudarmo on Jun 26, 2012
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1
The Impact of the Asian Tsunami on Indonesia’s
Economy
*
 
Budy P. ResosudarmoEconomics DivisionResearch School of Pacific and Asian StudiesThe Australian National University
1. Introduction 
Survivors of the Asian tsunami of 26 December 2004 in the northern and westernparts of Aceh as well as in islands around those regions, such as the islands of Niasand Simeulu, still remember how a massive earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richterscale shook the earth around 8 am that day, and about 15 minutes later, a tsunami hittheir regions. Waves as high as 10 m hit the city of Banda Aceh located in thenorthern part of Aceh and as high as 12 m hit the cities of Meulaboh, Calang andLamno located in the western part of Aceh, submerging areas up to about 10 km fromthe coastline (Soehaimi et al. 2005). The tragedy began. Those not personallyaffected saw their families, relatives and friends swallowed up by the tsunami andmany did not survive or remain missing.Of the ten countries hit by this tsunami, Indonesia suffered the most. By mid March2005, it was reported that the death toll was close to 167 thousand people,approximately 128 thousand missing and 811 thousand internally displaced. Almostall the victims (around 99.8 per cent) were in Aceh, particularly those who live on thenorthern and western coasts. These numbers far exceed those in the three other mostaffected countries; i.e. Sri Lanka (around 30 thousand dead, 6 thousand missing and500 thousand displaced), India (around 11 thousand dead, 6 thousand missing and 648thousand displaced) and Thailand (around 5 thousand dead, 3 thousand missing and 3thousand displaced) (Athukorala and Resosudarmo 2005).Within Indonesia, Aceh was the area affected the most. More than 99 per cent of humans lost and physical damages caused by this Asian tsunami were in Aceh.Meanwhile, Aceh had suffered a long-term, around 30 years, socio-political conflictswith the Aceh Freedom of Movement (GAM or
Gerakan Aceh Merdeka
) and theIndonesian government; causing difficulties for many people in Aceh to do theiractivities and to access education and health facilities as well as other public services.Aceh hence became one of the poorest regions in the country. This Asian tsunamicertainly made life much more difficult for many Acehnese people, and moreimportantly created a challenge in conducting rehabilitation and reconstructionactivities in the post-tsunami period.
*
Paper presented at
the ASEAN Roundtable on ‘The Asian Tsunami: Implications on RegionalDevelopment and Security’, Singapore, 17– 
18 November 2005. The author would like to thank Premachandra Athukorala of the Australian National University and participants of the roundtable formany valuable comments.
 Nevertheless, mistakes remain the author’s responsibil
ity.
 
2Emergency relief support from various domestic as well as international agencies andorganisations was considerable and prompt. International donor response has beenremarkable and overwhelming. By mid February, approximately 34 countries andvarious organisations had made pledges and commitments amounting to US$ 800million to support various emergency relief and rehabilitation efforts in Aceh andNias. At the end of January, members of the Consultative Group for Indonesia (CGI)agreed to provide grants and loans amounting to US$ 1.7 billion for the reconstructionof Aceh. Most of these funds were distributed through non-government institutions(NGOs). This amount of international funding and the unexpectedly significant roles
 played by NGOs’ had never before been experienced by Indonesia.
 The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of this huge natural disasteraffecting a heavy conflict area, international responses and the expectedly significant
roles of NGOs on Indonesia’s economy and development in general. First, this paper 
will discuss the nature of natural disasters in Indonesia. Second, it will review the
impact of this disaster on Indonesia’s economy. Third, it will record the on
-goingactivities and the challenges involved in the reconstruction of Aceh and Nias.
2. Natural Disasters in Indonesia 
1
 
Indonesia is located
in the “Ring of Fire”, which consists of volcanic arcs and oceanic
trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin, between the Indo-Australian and Eurasianplates, making it a zone of frequent volcanic eruption and earthquakes. Of thehundreds of volcanoes in Indonesia, approximately 76 are historically activevolcanoes. In this sense, Indonesia has the largest active volcanoes in the world. Themajority of these volcanoes (around 76 %) are located in the arc composed of Sumatra,Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands.There are around 1,200 dated eruptions in Indonesia, only narrowly exceeded byJapan's approximate 1,300. These two regions have combined to produce one third of the known explosive eruptions throughout the world. Indonesia has suffered thehighest number of eruptions producing fatalities, damage to arable land, mudflows,tsunamis, domes, and pyroclastic flows. Four-fifths of Indonesian volcanoes withdated eruptions have occurred in this century (USGS 2003). Three of these eruptionswere considered among the largest and most deadly eruptions ever worldwide.The first was the eruption in 1815 of the Tambora volcano in the Sumbawa Island,West Nusa Tenggara
 — 
the greatest eruption in recorded history. During thiseruption, the tremendous amount of ash thrown into the atmosphere resulted in anabnormally cold summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This eruption killedapproximately 92 thousand people. The second is the notorious Krakatau eruptionand tsunami in 1883. Krakatau volcano is in the Sunda strait between Java andSumatra islands. This eruption was the fourth greatest eruption in recorded history.This event killed approximately 36 thousand people (Tomascik et al. 1997).The third was the case of Kelud volcano located in East Java. Kelud has eruptedseveral times and two eruptions have caused fatalities. The first was the 1586eruption. This eruption produced one of the worst lahars in the historical record of 
1
See also Athukorala and Resosudarmo (2005)
 
3volcanic eruptions and took the lives of about 10 thousand people. The second wasthe 1919 eruption, destroying a hundred villages and killing approximately 5 thousandpeople (Bergen et al. 2000). Other large and deadly eruptions were the cases of Galungung volcano
 — 
West Java in 1882, causing approximately 4 thousand deaths,Agung volcano
 — 
Bali in 1963 causing around 1,500 deaths, and Merapi volcano
 — 
 Central Java, not far from the heavily populated and tourist towns of Solo andYogyakarta. Merapi erupted several times, 1930, 1931 and 1951 being among thedeadliest. Each of these eruptions killed approximately a thousand people (USGS2003).The geological composition of the Indonesian archipelago also causes earthquakes.Earthquakes are one of the geophysical catastrophes originating mostly along theboundary of tectonic plates. Earthquake activity in Indonesia is mostly located on thewest coast of Sumatra, the south coast of Java, the northern part of Papua and in north
Sulawesi. Approximately ten per cent of the world’s seismicity occurs in the
Indonesian archipelago. The after-effects of this seismic activity are tidal waves,which can be more destructive than the earthquake itself (Tomascik et al. 1997).Three of the earthquakes in Indonesia were considered as having a magnitude amongthe largest in the world. One, which is the focus of this paper, was among thedeadliest in the world.The first of the other two to occur was in Bali on the 21
st
of January 1917. Theearthquake created a tsunami and both of them flattened and destroyed thousandshouses in the island. It was report around 15 thousand people died during this event.This earthquake is among the 25 most deadly earthquakes in the world so far. Theother one was on the 12
th
of December 1992 on the Island of Flores and was alsofollowed by a tsunami. The tsunami ran 300 meters inland with waves as high as 25meters. The event killed approximately 2,500 people, and around 90,000 were lefthomeless. Between 50 to 80 % of the structures on Flores were damaged or destroyed.Damage also occurred on surrounding islands such as Sumba and Alor (NGDC 2004).Not that long after they were hit by the 26
th
of December 2004 earthquake, two morelarge earthquakes hit the islands of Simeulu and Nias again. The first one was on the28
th
of March 2005 causing around a thousand deaths on the islands of Simeulu andNias. The other one was on the 19
th
of May 2005. Fortunately, these two earthquakesdid not create any major tsunami in the area.The contour and climate in this archipelago also have the potential to cause otherdeadly natural disasters such as cyclone, drought and flood. The World HealthOrganization Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters(WHO
 – 
CRED)
 
estimated that, from around 1907 to mid 2005, there wereapproximately 320 events of deadly natural disasters in Indonesia (Table 1). Thecentre also estimated that, on average, approximately 718 people have died andapproximately 57 thousand people have been affected per event. On a per annualbasis, there were around 3 deadly natural disasters; causing around 2 thousand peopleto die and affecting approximately 172 thousand people annually. Clearly naturaldisasters happen frequently in the country.Figure 1 presents the frequency of these natural disasters occurring between 1950 andmid 2005. It can be seen that the number of natural disasters recorded in every

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