Indonesia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with 130 active volcanoes and an average of 100 earthquakes per year that rate over 5 on the Richter scale.
While Australian Red Cross has supported Indonesian Red Cross (Pelang Merah Indonesia - PMI) since 1950, our support expanded after the Bali Bombings in 2002, the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, and earthquakes in Sumatra and Yogyakarta.
Our long-term partnership with PMI has a strong focus on preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters. Our support also includes the strengthening and development of PMI, as the best way to reach and serve some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.
Preparing for disasters
Every dollar spent on preparing for disasters saves an average of four dollars in the cost of response and recovery. By training local communities on how to best prepare for a disaster, many lives and livelihoods can be saved.
With funding from the Australian Government, 14 districts in eastern Indonesian provinces have disaster plans, prepared jointly by PMI and local authorities. Trained volunteers operate radio rooms 24 hours a day, to improve communication during disasters and when preparing for emergencies. The plans are tested through simulation exercises.
Using film to change minds
In 2012, a feature film on preventing death and suffering during disasters was successfully produced and viewed by approximately one million people. The film - Pesan dari Samudra (Message from the Ocean) - was screened on national TV and to communities as part of a national roadshow. The film showed how different responses can dramatically change the way disasters affect local communities.
A follow-up film is being produced in 2014, highlighting the dangers of floods and landslides and how simple measures can save lives.
Blood saves lives and blood services are an important part of a strong health system. A challenge for Indonesia is to deliver safe and sustainable blood service across a sprawling archipelago.
Professional support from Australian Red Cross Blood Service has led to the quality of PMI's Central Blood Transfusion Service being upgraded to international standards. PMI has developed a blood policy and strategic plan, together with a management system to deliver high-quality blood services across Indonesia. The Central Blood Transfusion Service is working to become the national reference laboratory for transfusion services.
Photo credits: IFRC, Dhora Mathilde/French Red Cross, PMI