How a low-tech mobile app is changing the way Indonesia responds to disasters

Guest Post by Lulu Muhammad and Gina Meutia
Dec 16, 2014
Did you know that nearly eight out of ten Indonesians have access to cell phones?
We are talking about over 230 million people across three time zones and out of those users; around 61 million are connected to the Internet via their phones. This impressively high number presents an opportunity to enhance disaster risk management in Indonesia, already a world leader in producing evidence based information systems, planning and monitoring tools.
Indeed, when UNDP and the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) were searching for the most reliable communication platform to circulate post-disaster real-time data, mobile phone applications became our top choice.
The need to provide post-disaster real-time data couldn’t be more urgent for a huge archipelagic country like Indonesia; so we jointly developed a snappy mobile app called the Post-Disaster Assessment Decision Support System (PDNA-DSS)
According to risk analysis firm, Maplecroft, Indonesia has been cited as one of the ‘high risk’ countries to destructive natural hazards. Sitting between two of the world’s most active seismic plates, Indonesia is struck with over five light earthquakes on a daily basis. In December 2004, a quake-triggered tsunami ravaged parts of Aceh province in Sumatra Island, killing at least 170,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands others.
Hence, reliable real-time data on post disaster information will help ensure a well-targeted and speedy response to future disasters in Indonesia, which in turn, will save lives and money.