Indonesia is a nation of more than 17,000 islands spanning the South Pacific and Indian Ocean along some of the world’s busiest sea routes. The Indonesian archipelago is highly active geologically, making it unusually vulnerable to earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. Indonesia suffered greater damage from the 2004 tsunami than any other country. It also lost more lives, with an estimated 160,000 Indonesians among the more than 220,000 killed in the disaster.
International Medical Corps was among the first international relief organizations to respond to the tsunami and one of the few to remain once the emergency ended. We provided a broad range of health care programs to help the people of northern Indonesia’s Aceh region. These efforts included primary and secondary health care as well as psychosocial programs to help Indonesians cope emotionally.
Following the tsunami, International Medical Corps established a partnership with a respected local emergency response group of health professionals, Ambulan 118, which has added to Indonesia’s capacity to react quickly and effectively in times of disaster. Combining our decades of global experience with Ambulan 118’s local knowledge, we created a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response program in disaster-prone areas throughout Indonesia. The success of these efforts was proved soon after: Ambulan 118 responded swiftly and effectively to major earthquakes in Yogyakarta on the island of Java in 2006 and on Sumatra in 2007 and 2009.
International Medical Corps’ current focus is on strengthening Indonesia’s emergency preparedness and response programs through the PREPARE project. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), PREPARE works to strengthen the capacity of the least resourced countries in Africa and Asia for multi-sector disaster management and pandemic preparedness planning. PREPARE aims to promote the integration of pandemic preparedness into wider disaster management and preparedness initiatives in Indonesia. Our workshops gather government officials and community leaders from multiple civic sectors with the goal of developing a strategy for a national pandemic plan.
Most recently, International Medical Corps PREPARE conducted a five-day workshop in Bandung to provide guidance and collaboration with government ministries in developing a national and sectoral pandemic response plan. Ensuring different sectors and businesses continue to function even during the event of a pandemic including health, commerce, transportation, education, agriculture, food and logistics, water, finance, security and communications was a main objective.