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Everyday Disasters - Reality Check from Indonesia

Women breaking stones at community project in Blawong, Indonesia Women breaking stones at community project in Blawong, Indonesia

'Of course we are terrified. Each time there is heavy rain, there are landslides and fallen trees everywhere... But what can we do, we try to stay calm and hope nothing will happen to our family. Our livelihood is here, our coffee plantation is our main source of income, so we have no choice'.

In Indonesia, the Blawong community has been living on steep hill slopes in central Java for generations but recently the village has been heavily affected by landslides. These caused major damage to land, properties and houses, alarming the population and local authorities. Some 115, out of a total of 185 households, agreed to a relocation scheme by the provincial government. But 70 households decided to stay due to the proximity to their farms and their historical attachment to the location.

'Of course we are terrified" told us Titik Rafiani, a member of the Disaster Task Force of Blawong sub-village. Her family decided to stay: "Each time there is heavy rain, there are landslides and fallen trees everywhere... But what can we do, we try to stay calm and hope nothing will happen to our family. Our livelihood is here, our coffee plantation is our main source of income, so we have no choice".

Given the lack of support from local government, and with the help of Yakkum Emergency Unit, a local NGO and member of GNDR, the Blawong community decided to take the initiative of developing a number of preparedness and mitigation measures themselves, exclusively using local resources: the steep hillsides were reforested, drainage channels dug, a basic early warning system installed, evacuation signposts put up and accessible evacuation routes made for all (including children, elderly and persons with disability). Community resilience starts with people's own initiatives.

Its time to take real life at the frontline into account. To realise that community resilience starts with people's own initiatives. It's time for a Reality Check!

Find out more about everyday disasters watching a video at the GNDR YouTube channel.

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