Disaster Management Manual
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4.1.1 Disaster Response

Disaster response is a series of activities carried out by government or non-government agencies immediately after the disaster occurrence. In road and bridge field, reconnecting the disconnected road and bridge infrastructures is the main disaster response purpose. In case of a disaster occurrence, government and all the related agencies inspect the road network and try to get information about damages, road and bridge network disconnections, and any aftershocks. All information must be disseminated quickly to local government institutions and communities in risked areas so that appropriate actions and measures can be taken accordingly. The next step is to assess the disaster to provide a clear and accurate picture of the post-disaster situation so that we can manage and overcome this disaster quickly and comprehensively. In this phase, assessment can be divided into two kinds, depending on what the stage is.

The first one is quick assessment, which identifies urgent needs; strategies for early recovery can be developed. Quick assessments are generally carried out using several indicators, including:

  • The level of damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges
  • Coverage of disaster area
  • Local government capacity in responding to the disaster.

The second is rehabilitation and reconstruction assessment, which is carried out a few weeks after the disaster response takes place. In an after-disaster condition, we need to establish security as soon as possible because there is potential danger of aftershocks and the collapse of fragile buildings due to the initial quake. Security can create a more conducive and stable situation in the disaster response phase.

Disaster management in the field of public works is prioritized for immediately restoring the function of the infrastructure such as road networks, while permanent repair will be programmed immediately after the infrastructure can be re-enabled and the infrastructure budget allocated.

In dealing with every disaster, a standard procedure is needed that can be a reference in carrying out rescue and evacuation activities. The procedure starts from:

  1. When a disaster occurs, local government sends out teams to assess the road network to know whether it still functional or not,
  2. Damage towards roads or bridges that results in disruption of road functions must be reported to the superior in charge or central government,
  3. An officer in the field leads the implementation of disaster response work and makes an effort to restore road functions with all available resources,
  4. The field officer reports the progress and obstacles faced on the field periodically to their superior in order to carry out disaster response work and obtain assistance to solve the obstacles encountered.

Given that road and bridge infrastructure play a vital role in post-disaster management, it is necessary to have its own handling procedures in the disaster response phase to avoid misconceptions and misinformation that can caused miscoordination. For example, the procedures for handling road infrastructure disaster response in Indonesia are as follows:

  1. The field officer provides a unit with equipment for handling disaster response (Disaster Response Unit/DRU), which is placed near locations that are indicated as prone to disaster damage,
  2. For disaster that are not too massive, the closest field officer manages it by optimizing the allocation of existing funds,
  3. Meanwhile, the handling of disaster which is quite big will be immediately reported to the central government or any institution in charge so it can be managed in a larger scale,

For permanent handling, local governments can submit proposals for their cost requirements, to be programmed with central government funding sources, for post-disaster management.

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