Communication and information are integral elements of disaster management, and are becoming even more important as the digital era expands. This month we speak with Theophilus Yanuarto in his role as the Supervisor for Disaster Communication and Publications, in the Data, Information and Disaster Communication Centre of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB).
One of the alumni from batch 2 (2015) of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, Mr Yanuarto explained the programme’s impact and influence on his career since his graduation. “I felt it was a very comprehensive programme that provided disaster management analysis and knowledge capabilities, including enhancing our skills in some activities”, he explained. “This programme greatly increased my capacity in various contexts, such as related to risk communication, incident command system, international humanitarian system, logistics. It also not only strengthens relations between countries but can contribute to my organisation and other relevant organisations focusing on disaster management.”
Mr Yanuarto is also a member of the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT), and explains how his engagement in disaster responses has resulted in relevant learning for his overall work. “I learned many things when involved in emergency management in the region, ranging from the characteristics of the disaster, how the government responds, working in teams of members from several countries.” Mr Yanuarto also highlights the feeling of togetherness experienced during his role supporting the emergency response to Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines in 2018. “I was warmly received while at NDRRMC and communicating with colleagues there. I also saw the positive dynamics between the people working in the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) when responding to the Typhoon Mangkhut.”
Currently, Mr Yanuarto’s role with the BNPB sees him responsible for the publicity of disasters in Indonesia. “The forms of publication can be text, audio, or video” he explained, “and are very useful for local disaster management agencies in terms of public communication in disaster-affected areas”. Within this, however, Mr Yanuarto can identify ongoing challenges that are part of disaster communication – in particular gaps between national and local-level communication capacities. “In the context of disasters, the media usually relies on information from the national level”, he explained. “However, the speed of information delivered from the affected area – information urgently needed by the community, including the media – remains a challenge.”
Looking ahead, Mr Yanuarto has high hopes for disaster management across the ASEAN region, and recognises the importance in regional cooperation in the face of disaster. “I hope the vision of One ASEAN One Response can be the catalyst for government policy related to receiving assistance from ASEAN countries”, he said.
“Each ASEAN nation has experience in disaster management – especially in the context of local knowledge – and sharing of such knowledge can enrich disaster management among ASEAN Member States.”
Written by : Moch Syifa, William Shea | Photo Credit : Theophilus Yanuarto