Warning sirens blaring from neighborhood mosques stirred most residents from their slumber. Many merely gathered nervously in the streets, but some hopped in cars and on motorbikes and drove away from the sea.
Rahmadi said some of his neighbors stayed outside for more than an hour after the quake, mostly because they feared a tsunami. “They were worried to go to back to sleep.”
Despite their nervousness, much of resident's better understanding of earthquake and tsunamis come from efforts by the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPD), the United Nations Development Program and international aid agencies to distribute information to residents about how to respond to natural disasters.
The UNDP frequently publishes information in local newspapers and hands out leaflets about disaster mitigation, says 20-something Rahmadi, who like many of his generation are less fearful of potential tsunamis than their elders. “Older people still don’t understand,” he says.
The disaster management agency has an annual budget of $550 million for preparedness activities, disaster risk reduction, response, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, says its chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
That money has gone toward the formation of local-level disaster management agencies, trained volunteer disaster responders and helped create a disaster management plan and map demarcating high-risk areas. BNPD has also provided reconstruction equipment and logistical assistance to the province.
Mr. Nugroho says the reason yesterday's quake did not cause widespread damage is because its epicenter was far away from the mainland, and residents immediately responded by leaving their homes and heading to safer locations.