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Journalists Set To Teach How to Reduce Disaster Risks

BY NURDIN HASAN


Banda Aceh, TAG – Journalists in Aceh kicked off a public awareness campaign on Tuesday to promote disaster preparedness, as part of commemorations marking the seventh anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 160,000 people in the province.


Fakhrurradzie M. Gade, secretary general of the Aceh Journalists Forum for Disaster (FJAPB), said the week-long event was aimed at ensuring that people from all walks of life could get involved in disaster mitigation and risk reduction efforts. 
“The specter of disaster, whether earthquakes, tsunami, flooding, landslides or volcanic eruptions, will always loom over Indonesia,” he said.
“That’s why we need everyone to be aware of and involved in disaster mitigation campaigns, including journalists, so that we can minimize the number of casualties in the event of a disaster.
“We as Acehnese journalists have a special calling and responsibility to educate others on this issue,” he added.
The campaign, called Siaga Sebelum Petaka (On Alert Before Disaster Strikes), culminates on Monday, seven years to the day since a massive quake of magnitude 9.3 struck off the west coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that traveled as far as East Africa.
The waves killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean nations, from Thailand to Sri Lanka. Hardest hit by far was Indonesia’s Aceh province, where 164,000 died. Of those, 37,000 were never found, their bodies presumed washed out to sea.
Fakhrurradzie said the awareness campaign would include a seminar, competitions, a photo exhibition and a communal prayer.
Some 30 photos by local journalists have gone on display at the Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh, all of them on the theme of community preparedness in anticipation of disaster.
“Through this exhibition, we want to show the public how important it is to be prepared beforehand,” said Hasbi Azhar, the exhibition curator.
Fakhrurradzie said that on Thursday, the FJAPB planned to hold a national seminar to discuss how the media could promote disaster awareness and preparedness at a nationwide level.
The speakers will include Arif Zulkifli from Tempo magazine, Choiri Ahmadi from broadcaster RCTI, Heru Hendratmoko from KBR68H radio and various other journalists from Aceh-based news outlets.
“Our hope is that the recommendations derived at the seminar will give rise to a new paradigm for how the media reports on disasters, in such a way that it both informs the viewer and serves to educate them on preparing for future disasters,” Fakhrurradzie said.
A second seminar will focus on the private sector’s role in these efforts, particularly through corporate social responsibility programs.
There will also be activities aimed at younger participants, including an essay-writing contest.[]

Journalists Set To Teach How to Reduce Disaster Risks Journalists Set To Teach How to Reduce Disaster Risks Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on December 21, 2011 Rating: 5

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