An early warning system must be developed in consideration of the local structures, actors and capacities, as this is where the recipients of the warning alert are situated. The authorities and the affected population must be prepared for the disaster and understand the warning alert and react appropriately.
In Indonesia, the local level has a crucial role, due to the decentralisation and democratisation process, in which the country has massively found itself in since 1999, even with the implementation of the tsunami early warning system. During the course of increasing autonomy of the regions, the administrative districts and cities are obtaining more and more competences and responsibilities, also in the area of disaster protection and prevention. The district commissioner/mayor, in case of a natural disaster, has the final decision-making power of whether evacuation should take place in response to a warning alert or not. The long-term distribution of resources and the safety of the citizens are one of the main tasks of a local authority. On the one hand, the resolute decentralisation is supportive for a local customised disaster management and thus conducive to fast execution of an early warning alert, but on the other hand, it is questionable whether the local structures and capacities for effective, institutionalised and interdisciplinary disaster management are available.
Instruments for preparation planning and local warning systems were developed and established in three pilot regions. For the national level, procedural suggestions were discussed and developed on the basis of these experiences in the pilot regions.
From 2006 until 2010, this programme was implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) together with Indonesian partners. Pilot regions were Padang (large city in West Sumatra), Cilacap, Kebumen and Bantul (three districts in the more rural region in South Java) and Denpasar (tourism centre on Bali). In an ongoing advisory process, standard procedures were developed and tested for decision-making with disaster alerts, processes and technologies for disseminating the warning alert and evacuation plans. Furthermore, the project supported the Indonesian authorities and civilian organisations with public relations campaigns, the production and provision of educating materials, the performance of disaster drills and the advanced training of the staff of local disaster protection authorities. In Bali, the project was also involved in the development of procedures for tsunami prevention in the tourism sector.
The experiences from the pilot regions were processed for the discussion at a national level and provided to the actors involved in the form of concept papers, practical guidelines, checklists and experience reports. Comprehensive documentation is available in the "TsunamiKit".
Furthermore, the project was involved in the working group for "Community Preparedness" of the UNESCO Government Coordination Group on Tsunami Early Warning in the Indian Ocean (ICG IOTWS) and could therefore integrate the experiences from Indonesia in the international discussion process.