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BNPB BMKG admits shortcomings of early warning system

Tempo - January 4, 2020

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Chief of Climate and Air Quality Information Dissemination of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) Agency Harry Tirto Djatmiko asserted that the initial information concerning potential flood from the BMKG has not been utilized well.

In addition to providing direct information to the people through social media, BMKG also provide early warnings to related institutions such as the National Disaster Mitigation Agency and regional government. With the early warning system, Harry said, BMKG hoped that flood can be anticipated.

"That is our hope. BMKG has goof information, but not utilized well," Harry said in a discussion on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

Harry said that the BMKG has been providing routine warnings every one or three days. For the flood that hits Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi on January 1, 2020, Harry said that the BMKG has provided early warnings since December 27, 2019.

The information that was being delivered back then was a forecast of heavy intensity rain. BMKG had also announce early warnings three hours before the disaster through broadcast message via WhatsApp groups and text messages. The messages were sent to all government stakeholders.

"The keyword is, if BMKG has issued a three hour early warning more than four times, and a four to five hour early warning of heavy intensity rain, the awareness level should be increased to alert," Harry said.

Harry added that the early warning continues to be broadcasted from December 28 to December 31, 2019. Harry however, admitted that he did not know whether those warnings were followed up with further actions by the Jakarta government and other respective institutions.

Chief of BNPB Operation Control Center Bambang Surya Putra, said that the early warning information from the BMKG were relayed to the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, other bodies of BNPB, and other institutions. On December 27, Bambang said that BNPB had also visited the Jakarta BPPD and requested for a roll call to prepare for extreme weathers.

"But when it was planned suddenly precipitation was so high," Bambang said.

For major cities like Jakarta, Bogor and Bekasi, Bambang said that there should be flood alert sirens located around river areas. The siren should went-off if water levels have increase above the average level or if flood occurs.

Bambang however admitted that the early warning system is far from expectations. "Warning should be received by individuals, this means everyone has the right to such information. But if we look at the current condition, apparently it is still far from that expectation," Bambang said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1291111/bnpb-bmkg-admits-shortcomings-of-early-warning-system