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Indonesia launches maps for safer infrastructure

Jakarta, Indonesia: The Public Works Ministry, Indonesia, launched six new earthquake zone maps to support the development of earthquake-resilient infrastructure. “We are doing this in response to the greater frequency of earthquakes in recent years. We realise that buildings and infrastructure should be resilient to earthquakes to reduce the number of fatalities,” Sumaryanto Widiyatin, ministry head of research and development.

The issuance of the maps was in line with a 2008 government regulation on disaster management that stipulates that mitigation through physical development was part of disaster prevention. “The new maps are more comprehensive than previous editions, which were issued in 2002, as they comply with the 2006 International Building Code and are based on three-dimensional earthquake source analysis,” he said, adding that they also included estimates of earthquake forces on structures to reduce disaster risks.

The map-making process involved 11 experts from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the Climatology, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Public Works Ministry.

Sumaryanto said that the maps served as a reference for constructing buildings and infrastructure such as roads, bridges, dikes and irrigation channels. “We will also issue guidelines for retrofitting and strengthening existing buildings that lie in areas prone to earthquakes to beef up public safety,” he added.

“By issuing these maps and later the [Indonesian National Standards or SNI], all building permits should comply with existing laws. If a spatial agency issues a permit for a building that goes against regulations, it can be sanctioned,” Sumaryanto continued, adding that residents also had the right to bring forward a class action against the administration if it ignored the recommended maps in construction work.

Sumaryanto said, map-makers were currently revising standards on earthquake-resilient construction, which is expected to be completed by August this year. They are also working on micro-zone maps as well as emergency plans to reduce the impact from earthquakes.

ITB’s Irwan Meilano, one of the map designers, said, “Right now we still need to disseminate information on the hazards to increase public awareness.” Further, he added that Japan set a good example by promoting citizens’ awareness through its headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion (HERP), a special governmental organisation under the education, culture, sports, research and technology ministries.

Source: The Jakarta Post