Australia is ready to assist Indonesia in any natural disaster response effort.
Indonesia is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and experiences regular floods, earthquakes and volcanic activity. In December 2004, a giant earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis across the Indian Ocean. Aceh in western Indonesia was one of the worst affected areas, with more than 168,000 people killed. On 30 September 2009 an earthquake struck Padang in West Sumatra, killing over 1,100 people and damaging more than 300,000 buildings. In October 2010, Indonesia was struck simultaneously by the eruption of Mt Merapi and a tsunami in the Mentawai Islands. Over 800 people were killed and more than 400,000 displaced.
Australia has been actively involved in helping Indonesia respond to natural disasters, most notably in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. That assistance has continued, including following the West Sumatra earthquake when Australia responded with valued emergency assistance. In the post-emergency phase Australia helped reconstruct eight earthquake damaged community health facilities and rebuilt 39 schools. Australia also helped more than 30,000 Indonesians affected by the eruption of Mt Merapi and the Mentawai Islands tsunami.
The Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR) is helping the Indonesian Government establish a real time earthquake impact estimation system that enables rapid estimates of the number of people potentially affected in a disaster. It developed a build-back-better campaign which encouraged communities and local governments in West Sumatra to adopt better building standards in rebuilding earthquake damaged buildings.
The AIFDR is also working with Indonesia’s largest faith-based organisation and local governments to develop new disaster management laws in East Java, which will ensure district budgets incorporate plans for disaster management. This will provide more than 12 million people with an opportunity to be better protected from natural disasters including floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes. Australia is prepared when disaster strikes in the region and has teams in Indonesia ready to respond to disasters at short notice, including relief stocks and survival packs for families. Australian assistance can be deployed within 48 hours of being requested.