Indonesia will more than double its disaster response budget to 15 trillion rupiah ($1.06 billion) in 2019, officials said on Tuesday, after a series of major natural disasters devastated three regions of the vast archipelago last year.
The Southeast Asian country suffered its deadliest year in over a decade in 2018, when over 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 localised incidents like landslides, floods, and forest fires.
“The funds have been prepared in anticipation of 2019,” said Askolani, budgeting director general at the finance ministry.
Five trillion rupiah would be allocated to rehabilitation and reconstruction, while 10 trillion would be reserved for disaster response, said finance ministry spokesman Nufransa Wira Sakti.
President Joko Widodo, who is running for re-election in April, said on Monday more money will be channelled 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 the year.
Widodo has also called for disaster preparedness to be included in the national school curriculum and for a defunct country-wide early tsunami warning system to be renewed.
Crashed jet search
In a separate development, Indonesia will launch a renewed search effort as early as Tuesday to find the cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, the head of its accident investigation agency said. “If the weather is good, the ship will start to depart today,” National Transporation Safety Commission (KNKT) Chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told Reuters on Tuesday.
The crash, the world’s first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018, killed all 189 people on board. Investigators last week said they planned to use a navy ship for a fresh search for the crashed jet’s second “black box” after a 10-day effort funded by Lion Air failed to find the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).