Since the first earthquake 6.4 on Richter scale to 6.9 SR on August 19 on Lombok Island and surrounding areas has caused more than 500 people killed, more than 400 thousand people displaced, and more than 74 thousand units of houses were damaged. The estimated loss would reach Rp 7.7 trillion.
Seeing the impact of the Lombok earthquake, many parties proposed that the situation has to be declared a national disaster. However, the government considers that this is not necessary to decide the Lombok disaster as a national disaster. Then, a lot of people have questioned the government's policy.
Regarding the polemic, Head of the Information Data Center and Public Relations of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency -BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho explained the matter of determining national disaster. The determination must be based on five main variables: the number of victims, loss of property, damage to infrastructure and facilities, wide coverage of areas affected by disasters, and the socio-economic impacts.
Sutopo believes that the indicators are not enough. There are fundamental indicators that are difficult to measure -the condition of the existence and function of the regional government whether it is collapsed or not. The 2004 Aceh tsunami was designated as a national disaster at that time because the regional government, both provincial and district/city, including the central elements in Aceh such as the Kodam and the Regional Police was totally paralyzed. The government later declared the national disaster. The risk is that all tasks of the regional government are taken over by the central government, including the general government.
With the existence of national disaster status, the door is open as wide as possible for international humanitarian assistance by other countries and the international community. This is a consequence of the Geneva Convention. New problems related to international assistance often arise, because it involves political, economic, social, cultural, defense and security matters. So, there are consequences if the Indonesian government determines the national disaster status. Sutopo added, since the 2004 Aceh tsunami until now, there has been no disaster in Indonesia which has been declared a national disaster. Because, the Indonesian people have learned a lot from the experience of handling the 2004 Aceh tsunami.
Indeed, disasters with casualties are quite likely to be discouraged that the central government establishes a national disaster. Many parties may not understand the disaster management as a whole, including determining the status and level of the disaster. They assume that with national disaster status, there will be easy access to national resources. But the fact is that even without national disaster status, the government has mobilized all national resources. A lot of personnel from central elements such as Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI, National Police -Polri, National SAR Agency -Basarnas, and related state ministries have been deployed on the hit locations. Huge logistical assistance from the government agencies and community has also been sent to Lombok.
The Indonesian nation must be united. Disasters are humanitarian affairs. Let’s get rid of differences in ideology, politics, religion, and others to help the disaster victims. The Lombok community needs the help of all parties. National energy must be united to help the people of Lombok. Without the status of the national disaster, the Lombok disaster is also the disaster of Indonesian nation.