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Jakarta Post

UNESCO, Indonesia join hands for disaster risk mapping at Prambanan temple complex

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, December 11, 2019   /   12:33 pm
UNESCO, Indonesia join hands for disaster risk mapping at Prambanan temple complex Standing tall: The ninth century Prambanan temples in Central Java are dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. (The Jakarta Post/Boy T Harjanto )

UNESCO has joined hands with Indonesian authorities and experts to launch a pilot project for disaster risk mapping for the Prambanan cultural heritage site and the intangible cultural heritage objects within the temple complex in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

The project will be carried out by UNESCO in collaboration with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the Central Java Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency (BPCB), Gadjah Mada University and PT Waindo SpecTerra.

Stakeholders involved in the project will gather information and create three-dimensional mapping that identifies the disaster risk for seven temples within the complex, including Prambanan, Sewu, Ghana and Ratu Boko temples and the surrounding area.

The temple complex is vulnerable to earthquake as it is located on the Opak fault, which caused the 5.9-magnitude earthquake in Yogyakarta in May 2006 and damaged the temple.

BNPB disaster risk reduction unit head Raditya Jati said all the information obtained would be included on a platform called InaRISK.

InaRISK, Raditya said, is a data service platform that aims to illustrate the potential for disaster in every area in Indonesia. The platform is expected to become the foundation of disaster risk reduction in the nation as well as to monitor the fluctuation of the disaster risk index rate. 

“We will add every piece of information we obtain to InaRISK in an effort to protect all forms of intangible and tangible cultural heritage from geological and hydrometeorological disasters,” Raditya told The Jakarta Post.

He expressed hope that in the long term, the platform would include comprehensive disaster risk information on all cultural heritage sites in Indonesia.

“By integrating the data, risk and spatial mapping of all cultural heritage sites, we will be able to learn which sites face high or medium threats from geological and hydrometeorological disasters,” he added. 

Raditya also said that disaster risk mapping was very important to help in the formulation of  strategy to reduce disaster risks and mitigate possible hazards affecting cultural heritage sites and intangible cultural heritage objects.

According to the BNPB, there are currently 295 active fault lines across the archipelago, making many regions in Indonesia very prone to earthquakes.

“If we’re not well prepared, our culture will be lost,” he said, “This program can also serve to educate members of the public about disaster mitigation so they will know what to do when [disaster] strikes.”

Since the temple complex is located on top of an active fault, it is also necessary to conduct a study on the number of tourists visiting the Prambanan complex, BCPB Yogyakarta head Zaimul Azzah said.

“During the holiday season, the number of visitors increases, so it would be dangerous if an earthquake suddenly occurred,” she said. 

UNESCO Jakarta director Shahbaz Khan noted that very little effort had been made on the ground to protect cultural heritage sites against the risk of disasters caused by natural incidents and human activities.

“Collaboration developed between the BNPB, cultural officers and geographers is highly welcomed. It is hoped that this project will set an example for other parts of Indonesia,” he said in a statement received by the Post. (dpk)