28 October 2010

The Democrat Party Response to a Tsunami...

The Jakarta Globe is reporting that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marzuki Ali, has an idea. Ali who happens to be a member of the party that acts as the political vehicle of the current president that allowed him to motor into the big chair, has decided that the best way to avoid tsunamis and other extreme wave events is to not live on islands.

In the world according to Ali, all people living on islands should be located to areas further inland in order to protect them from being swept away during a tsunami. I wonder if it is also part of the world according to Ali plan that Indonesians also be forcibly removed from active volcano areas and any low-lying area likely to flood (like Jakarta for instance)?

You know, Ali's idea is good. The safety of all Indonesians is paramount. Although, there is a small problem. Indonesia is an archipelagic nation. Ali, my dear friend, this means that it is a nation that is made up of islands. If you depopulate all the islands in order to protect the people from tsunamis, just as a matter of interest, where are you going to relocate them to?

Maybe what Ali meant to say was that he was all for relocating the DPR to Mentawai and relocating all the villagers of Mentawai and the surrounding islands to the DPR housing complex.

Ali, mate, a word of advice, if you do not open your mouth then you cannot get your foot in there!

Funnily enough it was Ruhut who had to trot out and apologise on behalf of the Democrat Party for Ali's insensitivity. Ruhut is the fellow that can no longer afford to buy Cuban cigars on his parliamentary salary.


lawbugger said...

Read on Mc Duff. The president said more or less the same thing. "some place are not suitable for habitation..."... not a big "foot in the" is it?

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

You know what? Some places are uninhabitable. However, this is not islands because of the risk of tidal waves or land close to active volcanoes.

Taking the arguments to the logical conclusion, then any risk makes a place uninhabitable. Therefore, Indonesians should pack up an leave Indonesia. After all, Indonesia is located well-within the pacific rim of fire, and this must be a risk that needs to be avoided.

The president and his minions, whether they are arguably right or not, were insensitive in making the remarks. This is particularly so considering the amount of death and destruction that has been wreaked by this tsunami.

Jakartass said...


I suggested in my post that those swept away were incomers, economic refugees from West Sumatra rather than the indigenous Mentawai living in uma, communal long houses inland and uphill so most of them were 'safe'.

Having viewed news footage, it would seem that I'm right; the Mentawai live in harmony with their forest environment.

So, probably unknowingly, SBY has for once got it right. There should be no coastal settlements where there's a risk of another tsunami.

Moving the inhabitants of Padang, Cilacap etc. could take a while, so they'd better get started right away.


lawbugger said...

about 1 in 30 affected. all immigrants??

Multibrand said...

I think that what Marzuki meant was that people living in parts of islands vulnerable to tsunami should move away to safer area at least one kilometer from the beach.

Rob Baiton said...

@ All...

My excuse for not replying sooner, too busy!

@ J...

Yes, I read your post. I even thought about commenting, maybe I will have to go back and do that now (return the favour so to speak) :)

I disagree that SBY has it right. But, nothing like a little healthy disagreement, right?

Let's agree then, no coastal settlements where there is a risk of tsunami. Is this based on a risk assessment? Or merely, if there is any risk, then no settlement?

Logical extension. If settlements are to be based on risk, then should those risk assessments extend beyond coastal regions and tsunamis? What about development on low-lying areas? Or the reclamation of coastal areas to build swank new suburbs or golf estates?

Should existing settlements be demolished?

While I am on a role. Considering Jakarta falls within the Pacific Rim of Fire fault lines and is at risk of the effects of shifting tectonic plates should all building that do not meet strict earthquake safety guidelines be torn down immediately, no questions asked. Would you be prepared to vacate J-Towers if such an assessment was made of your humble abode? After all, it is your and your family's safety at risk!

Indonesia is an archipelagic nation state. So, where does one move all these people to so they are not at risk of something?

The comments by SBY and Ali were insensitive. The point of the original tome was to point that out. Secondary to that was where does one draw the line in the sand with respect to acceptable risk?

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

Maybe J can answer this.

Indigenous to the local area perhaps is the point.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

If that is what Marzuki meant then that is what he should have said.

Lesson to all public servants; say what you mean.

Now, that said, who makes the assessment of which part of which island is vulnerable?

Should we stop at tsunami vulnerability? What about rising sea-levels? Should anyone living in a low-lying coastal area be moved immediately for their own protection?