Learning from Sasak people about disaster mitigation

Antara News
Village in Indonesia
Yuda Setiawan/Shutterstock

The building made of woven bamboo walls and topped with a thatched roof still stands tall, even though it was shaken by an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale in 2018.

Serving as a token of local knowledge that has proven its utility over the course of time, the Bayan traditional building sits in Bayan village, North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

A resident of Pujut sub-district, Lombok district, West Nusa Tenggara, points it out as an example of the adoption of local wisdom for natural disaster mitigation during an interview with ANTARA on May 18, 2022.

According to Lalu Sunting Mentas, local wisdom, which is reflected or incorporated in the construction of the balai balak buildings, must be preserved as part of the effort to anticipate the risk of earthquakes.


Although modern people deem such things as myths, people in the past extensively offered such sacrifices, and residents of Pujut sub-district still perform the sacrifice prior to constructing houses or large buildings, he informed.

According to older beliefs, the buffalo heads helped negate impending doom, he said.

In fact, local wisdom had saved people back in 1978 and helped them face sudden natural disasters. There were no loudspeakers back then. However, the kentongan (a traditional bamboo slit drum) proved vital for ensuring people’s security and in efforts to mitigate natural disasters.


Other early warning systems that have been implemented with current technological advancements are sirens and loudspeakers.

"As for tsunami detectors, we have tsunami EWS on the shores of Penghulu Agung Beach. On the 26th of every month, we activate (the device) to make sure that it is still properly functioning," he said.


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