Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is prone to natural disasters. At the height of flooding in 2014, around 134,000 persons were directly affected. During the dry season, fires are also rampant.
The Jakarta Smart Disaster Management Software Competition sought to tap IT potential to improve disaster resilience. The Jakarta Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) organized the competition with support from the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery. Among those who joined were university students, IT professionals, and researchers.
“IT experts and disasters are usually two different worlds apart. Competitions like this help bring them together,” said Onno W. Purbo, a Surya University IT expert who is often involved in IT for disaster risk management initiatives.
“It would also be good if IT experts, who are interested in disaster management, could get on-the-ground experience by being involved in real disaster situations,” said Purbo, who was also one of the competition judges.
The first category was a hackathon where participants were challenged to develop an additional feature for INASAFE . This is an open-source software currently used by the BPBD that produces natural hazard impact scenarios for better planning, preparedness, and response activities.
“At the moment, the software is mostly used for disaster preparedness, “ says Iwan Gunawan, World Bank Senior Disaster Risk Specialist in Indonesia. “Damage and loss assessments are still done manually and we would like to add this feature to the software.”
Through the competition, BPBD intends to speed up its damage and loss assessments following disasters.
“After the 2013 floods in Jakarta, it took our agency a long time to calculate the cost of damages,” says BPBD’s Head of Informatics, Bambang Suryaputra. “We would like to obtain the data much faster and hope to achieve this though collaboration from the IT community.”