Post-tsunami Indonesia: An enquiry into the success of interface in Indonesian tsunami early warning system

Maheshika Sakalasuriya, Harkunti P Rahayu, Richard Haigh, Dilanthi Amaratunga, In In Wahdiny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


As a result of the massive death and destruction caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, developing effective disaster preparedness strategies became a priority among countries in the region. The Indian Ocean end-to-end tsunami warning and mitigation system was established in the years following the tsunami and became fully operational in 2013. A tsunami warning system is typically divided into two stages, upstream and downstream. The former deals with detecting the earthquake and predicting the tsunami, and the latter focuses on disseminating the tsunami warning and evacuating people. Between the upstream and downstream there is an interface, where the tsunami information is evaluated at the national level, a decision to issue a warning is taken, and an official evacuation order can be given. The operation of interface mechanism differs across countries, depending on specific political, social, cultural and geographical circumstances. A detailed study of four countries in the Indian Ocean region was undertaken to understand the technical, legal and socio-cultural complexities that occur during operationalisation of the interface. The findings of the Indonesian case study and a detailed analysis of the interface arrangements in the Indonesian tsunami early warning system (Ina-TEWS) are presented in this chapter. An initial literature review was carried out and a conceptual framework was developed. Data collection was carried out using interviews and focus group discussions. Descriptive and content analysis methods were used for data analysis and organised under the themes of the conceptual framework. Ina-TEWS was reviewed against each parameter in the conceptual framework to understand how the interface arrangements have developed and performed since its inception. The findings revealed several gaps in the operationalisation of the interface arrangements in Ina-TEWS, and these were used to inform recommendations that could be used to make improvements in the future. Due to the geographical and administrative factors, the Ina-TEWS operates in a decentralised manner. The local level mechanisms are uniquely complex in Ina-TEWS, and there is a need to expand and clarify the guidelines for the local stakeholders. The involvement of many stakeholders at both national and local levels necessitates clarity about the functions, SOPs and legal obligation of each actor. The communication networks and the coordination among the interface institutions also need to be improved for effective operation of the Ina-TEWS. However, the decentralised nature of the interface mechanism provides opportunities for quick delivery of warning and evacuation information, as for evaluation and feedback processes. A summary of the centralised and decentralised components of the interface mechanism is provided in the conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPost-Disaster Governance in South East Asia
Subtitle of host publicationResponse, Recovery and Resilient Societies
EditorsAndri N.R. Mardiah, Mizan B.F. Bisri, Robert Olshansky
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789811674013
ISBN (Print)9789811674006
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2021


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