Indonesia: Disaster Response Budget to Double

Indonesia: Disaster Response Budget to Double

Indonesia will more than double its disaster response budget to 15 trillion rupiah (U.S. $1.06 billion) in 2019, officials said, after a series of major natural disasters devastated three regions of the vast archipelago in 2018.

The Southeast Asian country suffered its deadliest year in over a decade in 2018, when more than 3,000 people died in tsunamis and earthquakes in Sulawesi, Lombok, and West Java and Sumatra islands.

Indonesia straddles the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire and sees frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, and localized incidents, including landslides, floods and forest fires.

Five trillion rupiah will be allocated to rehabilitation and reconstruction, while 10 trillion will be reserved for disaster response, said Finance Ministry spokesman Nufransa Wira Sakti.

President Joko Widodo said more money will be channeled toward disaster education and response.

“Given our disaster-prone geographic conditions, we must be prepared, responsive, alert and resilient in facing any natural disaster,” he said during the first cabinet meeting of 2019.

Widodo has also called for disaster preparedness to be included in the national school curriculum and for a defunct countrywide early tsunami warning system to be renewed.

In 2018, the Finance Ministry said it planned to launch a new strategy in 2019 to fund disaster recovery, which could include selling “catastrophe bonds.” The central government would insure state assets against disaster and then create a disaster-risk financing instrument for affected regions to draw upon.