Tsunami Disaster in Banuwangi




At one o'clock in the morning of June 3, 1994, an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude on the Richter Scale occurred at the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of Malan in Java Island. This triggered a tsunami causing an assault at the southern coastline of East Java Province shortly afterward. The aftermath left severe damage to Kabupaten Banuwangi and several nearby Kabupatens killing more than 200 people.


Disaster Management System Before the Disaster


  1. East Java Province


The Coordinating Team for Disaster Management (TKPB) was established in East Java Province in May 1992 pursuant to the pronouncement of the Provincial Governor. The function of the TKPB is similar to that of the Satlak PBA which was established at the provincial level under the old system. The organizational structure and functions of the TKPB are described below. The organizational structure still takes on the old system despite the establishment of a new disaster management system.


Organization: Chairman-First Level Secretary of the provincial government

Deputy Chairman-Military Commander, Police Chief,

Director general of Civil Defense



1) Provision of instructions and guidance for Satlak PB (before and after a disaster)
2) Coordination with disaster-related organizations (both public and private sectors)
3) Supervision of disaster-related work in the province
4) Progress reporting of disaster-related work in the province to the governor

The daily work of the TKPB is conducted by local senior officials of the military, the police and the civil defense under the leadership of the assistant of the Provincial Secretary iii. The post of Secretary-General is filled by the Director of the Provincial Social Development Bureau. The Provincial Governor and Bupati have established a standard procedure for the establishment of poskos (command posts). The ordinary activities of the TKPB include the provision of financial assistance for the training of the Satlak BP and the training of search and rescue teams (documents pertaining to these activities were not obtained by the Study Team). No local disaster management plan nor contingency plan has yet been prepared.


2. East Java Province


Upon receipt of instruction from the provincial Governor, Kabupaten Banuwangi established the Satlak BP in 1992. The activities of Satlak BP include reporting at the regular quarterly meetings and emergency meetings during occurrence of disasters. As Kabupaten Banuwangi is not included in the Frequent Disaster Area established by the Bakornas BP due to the lack of major disasters in the past, no special training has been arranged for the Satlak BP members. Moreover, no disaster management plan, etc. has yet been prepared.

The Satlak BP has one SSB radio transmitter which is capable of communicating with Surabaya and kecamatan organizations but is not operated round the clock (24 hours/day). The Bupati was assigned to his position only 2 months prior to the disaster and is assumed to have little knowledge of the disaster management system in Kabupaten Banuwangi.


3. Kecamatan Pesanggaran


The Kecamatan office of Camat is a civil defense organization. Its office maintains a list of night-watch posts, kentongans (alarm bells) and a map indicating the locations of accidents and disaster (and other related information) during the previous year hung on the wall of the office. However, neither plan nor training for disaster management has been prepared or conducted. The Office owns an SSB radio transmitter and an operator-assisted telephone. In addition, the office has one vehicle.

Facts about the Tsunami and the Damages


The earthquake which triggered the tsunami occurred around 1:00 am of June 3rd, 1994 .Its epicenter was reported to be some 225 km south of Malan, East Java Province and some 250 km west-Southwest of Kecamatan Pesanggaran at the Indian Ocean (10 12'S and 113 12'E). The seismic center was said to be 35 km deep and the magnitude was estimated to be 7.2 on the Richter Scale. The tsunami reached the coast of Kecamatan Pesanggaran at around 2:00 am. The Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (MGA) of Indonesia estimated the tsunami's run-up height at 3 m. In extensively damaged villages, The tsunami's height was estimated at 2.0-2.5 m at Lampon, 5 m at Pancer and 7 m at Rajagwesi.

Among the affected villages, the hardest hit was Sub-Desa Pancer where 3,646 villagers or 90% of the total population of 4,009 were victims of the disaster with death toll of 126. More over, 442 of the 1,011 houses or 44% were completely destroyed.

Other villages also hardest hit were Sub-Desa Lampon with 40 people killed and 144 houses damaged, and Sub-Desa Lampon with 40 people killed and 144 houses damaged, and Sub-Desa Rajagwesi with 33 people killed and 100 houses damaged.

The Kabupaten Banuwangi, although lying relatively far from the epicenter compared to the other kabupatens, suffered the most damages due to the closer distance between the area occupied by most houses and the coast. In addition, many fishermen from other affected kabupatens were said to be fishing in the sea of farther kabupatens when the tsunami struck.

Emergency Response Activities of the Local Administrative Bodies


  1. Kecamatan Pesanggaran

    The first report of the disaster came from Sub-Desa Lampon. The Village chief went to the Kecamatan Office by motorbike and reported to a civil defense official who in turn reported the disaster to the wife of the Camat who was then in Surabaya. At around 2:30-3:00 AM. The Camat's wife visited the disaster are with the Chief of the Civil Defense and the members of the MUSPIKA (Leaders Council Of Kabupaten). Meanwhile the village chief visited the home of a Puskesmas (Community Health Centre) doctor to inform him of the disaster. The doctor headed for Sub-Desa Lampon by ambulance at past 2:00 am after first going to the Puskesmas. He arrived at the village before the Camat's wife and her party.

    The military separated the dead from the injured in Sub-Desa Lampon and organized a shuttle service to transport the injured in Sub-Desa Lampon and organized a shuttle service to transport the injured requiring medical attention to the Puskesmas using the vehicle of the Kecamatan Office. On the way to the Kecamatan Office, the Camat's wife instructed the PKK (Family Welfare Movement), a women organization in kecamatan, to prepare an emergency kitchen.

    The report from Sub-Desa Pancer which suffered the heaviest damage arrived at the Kecamatan Office at around 3:00 am. As the wife of the Camat and her party had already left for Sub-Desa Lampon, the military and police personnel immediately went to Sub-Desa Pancer. The military decided to evacuate the victims to a school-cum-community hall located in Sumberagung, about 11-km distance from Sub-Desa Pancer. Some victims started to evacuate the village on foot. After returning from Sub-Desa Lampon, the Camat's Wife and MUSPIKA members arrived at Sub-Desa Pancer at around 4:00 am and their vehicle was subsequently used to provided a shuttle service to transport the victims.

    The wife of the Camat returned to the Kecamatan Office at around 5:00 am and telephoned the Kabupaten Office. The SSB radio could not be used, as there was no operator working 24 hours/day. The wife of the Camat arrived at the site at around noon with 100 kg of rice and instructed the PKK to set up an emergency kitchen.

    The damage to Sub-Desa Rajagwesi was reported in the morning by a forestry official that happened to pass by the village. The Camat first learned of the disaster damage on his return to the Kecamatan Office at 1:00 pm. He set out for Sub-Desa Pancer at 4:00 pm.

    The search and rescue work was conducted by 90 civil defense members and the military although the work was extremely difficult due to the lack of appropriate equipment for use in the sea. Reinforcement from the provincial government and National Agency for Search and Rescue (Basarnas) arrived a couple of days later and the work continued for approximately one week and then moved to tent villages set up near their own villages.

    Using a vehicle-mounted loudspeaker, the office of the Kekamatan made an appeal local people who were not affected by the disaster to provided vehicles for evacuation, foodstuff and clothes for the victims. At 6:30 am on the morning after the disaster, the first batch of relief goods from the central government started arriving on the third day.


  3. Kabupaten Banuwangi

    The first report of the disaster received by the Kabupaten Office was that of the death of two people in Sub-Desa Grajan in Kecamatan Purwoharjo. At around 3:00 am, the Camat of kecamatan Purwoharjo telephoned the guardsman of the Kabupaten Office who then telephoned the home of the Bupati. The Bupati immediately left for the disaster site together with the military, the police, the Civil Defense and the Darma Wanita (the Wife of Bupati).

    When news of the disaster reached the Kabupaten Office from Kecamatan Pesanggaran, the Bupati was absent. The radio communication network of the military was used to relay the news to a mobile radio mounted on the military vehicle accompanying that of the Bupati which was returning to the Kabupaten office. The military vehicle stopped the Bupati's vehicle to inform the latter of the disaster. The Bupati, immediately headed for Sub-Desa Pancer, arriving at around 9:30 am.

    On the second day, a search and rescue team consisting of eight people arrived in Banuwangi City from the Basarnas Regional Center in Surabaya. Unfortunately, the Bupati had no previous experience of responding to such a disaster. As he failed to issue instructions amidst the confusion, SAR team wasted the whole second day.


Relief and Rehabilitation Activities


On the 4th of June, the second day of the disaster, the Deputy Governor of East Java Province visited the disaster areas. On the next day successive visits were made by the Military Commander, Coordinating Ministry of the People's Welfare, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Public Works. The first evaluation meeting was held on the 5th June under the chairmanship of the Military Commander for Kabupaten Banuwangi. The state of the disaster areas was discussed and an action plan was drafted.

The relief activities actually conducted include the search, dressing and burial of the dead, search and rescue of missing persons, evacuation of the victims, provision of medical and sanitation services, provision of meals, distribution of relief goods and cash, and cleaning of the disaster areas.


  1. Establishment of Poskos

    Poskos were established in Banuwangi City, Pesanggaran and Sub-Desa Pancer to monitor the situation, to gather information, to accept and distribute relief goods and to issue instructions. In the case of Sub-Desa Pancer, a poskos was set up at a community hall, which had survived the onslaught of the tsunami. The staff of the Satlak BP and those of the Community Office of the Kabupaten worked round the clock in that posko.


  3. Medical Care

    One of the two doctors working at the Puskesmas traveled through the disaster areas while the other stayed at the Puskesmas to treat the injured transported there. At the Puskesmas, 312 people and 118 people were treated on the first day and the second day of the disaster, respectively. On the second day, medical supplies arrived from Banuwangi City and from the Puskesmas of other areas. On the third day, 5 doctors arrived from Surabaya. Meanwhile, the military dispatched 4 medical teams, each of which consisted of a doctor, an assistant and several nurses. The Red Cross sent a large number of volunteers and one doctor.

    The injured were first sent to the Puskesmas and those requiring further treatment were transported to either Banuwangi or Surabaya.


  5. Gathering and Analysis of Information

    Efforts were made to relay disaster information through the RT and RW, etc. The dissemination of the latest information was difficult, partly because the leaders of the RT and RW had been badly affected by the disaster. Some were even killed.


  7. Receipt and Distribution of Relief Goods and Cash

    A total of 3,209 million Rp (approximately 150 million yen) was donated to Kabupaten Banuwangi at the end of October 1994. The relief goods included 360 tons of rice, sugar, instant noodles, etc. As many of the victims were fishermen, approximately 170 fishing boats were donated by the central government, overseas aid organization and NGO's, among others. Each victim was given a sum of 500 Rp and a daily rice supply of 0.5 kg. The PKK collected old clothes, which were distributed through the posko network.


  1. Cleaning Up Disaster Areas

    Five dump trucks, one bulldozer and 4 shovel cars were used to clean up the disaster areas. In addition, 4 water supply wagons and 9 ordinary vehicles were mobilized to assist the work. The clean up work took about 25 days to complete.


  3. Resettlement

    New houses for those who lost their homes in Sub-Desa Pancer, Lampon and Rajagwesi have been constructed at sites located 250 to 400 meters from the coast.

    While 6 ha of land owned by the Kabupaten was available in Sub-Desa Pancer, an additional area of land controlled by the Department of Forestry including a part of a national park was needed to establish the resettlement site for the victims. The Office of Kabupaten requested permission to use the area from the secretary of Forestry on July 8 who gave his verbal permission on August 13 during his visit to the disaster areas, followed by a written confirmation dated August 23.

    The construction of new houses has been slow in Sub-Desa Rajagwesi compared to other two villages. Up to the end of September 1984, nothing has yet started due to the difficult access to the village.

    The layout of the housing subdivisions and design of houses were prepared by the Department of Public Works. Many inhabitants initially disliked the idea of living further inland but almost all of them accepted for safety reasons. The construction materials were purchased mainly using donated funds. The cost of one unit was about 3 million Rp (Approximately 150,000 yen). Volunteers from the military and Civil Defense largely undertook the actual construction work. The work commenced on July 18 and after the first 20 days, 270 houses were completed.

    As a part of the resettlement plan, mangrove trees will be planted along the coast as these served live savers to many survivors who were able to cling to the trees during the tsunami. It is also expected that a line of mangrove trees will act as a breakwater.

    At the resettlement site for Sub-Desa Pancer, houses of 6m by 6m each were constructed on a lot of 11 m by 14 m each. Wells were also dug to serve 6 houses each. As it is anticipated that the ground water from these wells would be affected by salt-water intrusion from the sea, the department of Public Works plans to extend a water supply line from the existing water source located 5 km away.

    Electricity is currently supplied using a power generator owned by private company. In the future, electricity will be supplied by PLN at half the present cost.

    One of the 4 NGOs operating in the disaster areas provided construction materials to extend the houses at the new settlement sites. Some of the people have already commenced expanding their houses using these and other materials.


  5. Relocation to Other Islands
  6. As part of the resettlement efforts, the victims were invited to join the official resettlement drive promoted by the Department of Immigration to move the people outside Java Island. In Kapubaten Banuwangi, 54 households with 1987 family members accepted this invitation. Those belonging to the working age were offered employment as a plantation worker by companies operating near the resettlement site.


8. Manpower Mobilized

The total manpower mobilized for the relief and rehabilitation activities was reported as follows.

ABRI (National Army) : 463

Search and rescue : 3

Medical Corps. : 62

Logistics : 45

Police : 46

Search and Rescue : 16

Local Government Task Force : 164

Red cross Volunteers : 400

Other Community Organizations : 162

Boy scouts : 35

Students : 35

Youth : 85


The PKK of the kecamatan deployed some 15-30 people per day for the first two months after the disaster to help the victims and to assist the rehabilitation activities in the disaster areas.


9. Donations


According to the Kabupaten Banuwangi Government, some 3.2 billion Rp (approximately 160 million-yen) in donations were received as of October 31, 1994. The East Java Provincial Government disclosed that some 2.7 billion Rp was donated to its Social Guidance Bureau in November 2, 1994. Out of which 2.2 billion Rp was forwarded to the Kabupaten Banuwangi Government.


10. Problems of Relief and Rehabilitation Activities


The following are identified problems of relief and rehabilitation activities:


    1. The original planned delivery of heavy machinery to the disaster villages was delayed by two weeks due to the poor condition of the access roads.

    3. It was difficult to obtain accurate information at the posko of Sub-Desa Pancer due to the far distances (approximately 20-km) between the neighboring village centres.


    5. Due to the lack of telecommunication facilities in the disaster villages, communication was one of the most pressing problems.

    7. The provision of emergency tents to accommodate the victims was non-existent. These were sent by the Department of Social Affairs one-month later.


    9. The Civil Defense members were found to be lacking in search and rescue skills and also short of relevant equipment.

    11. Due to the absence of rule in the distribution of relief goods, donors initially attempted to directly distribute relief goods to the victims without coordination with other donors, resulting to disproportionate distribution of goods. The lack of proper explanation to the victims resulted in suspicion of bias and dissatisfaction on the part of the victims.


    13. Some of the victims appear to have lost their desire to rebuild their lives based on their own efforts as their dependence on relief goods and donations has lasted for some time.


Problems of the Local Disaster Management System


The case study identified the following problems of the local disaster management system in Kabupaten Banuwangi.


    1. The local administrative bodies lack of awareness of the danger of tsunami: The areas hit by the tsunami were not considered tsunami-prone areas and local government officials had no correct idea, more so, an authentic knowledge about tsunamis. Consequently, there was little concern in the disaster management system and activities vis-a-vis tsunami.
    2. Lack of awareness about the dangers of tsunami on the part of local inhabitants: The local inhabitant had no proper image and authentic knowledge of tsunami.
    3. Lack of early warning and information dissemination systems: The MGA did not have an early warning system for tsunami nor did it have a system or means of swiftly conveying an evacuation order to the public. Had these been in place, The disaster could have been mitigated as a tsunami was already anticipated after detecting an earthquake.
    4. Inadequate response of the administration: Due to the lack of a contingency plan to anticipate the actual disasters, the initial response of the administration immediately after the disaster and at the early stage of relief activities was confused. The relief efforts were delayed in the hardest hit areas due to the uncoordinated activities of the local inhabitants.
    5. Lack of well experienced administrative staff in disaster management activities: The Bupati had little previous experience in attending to disaster response having been assigned to his position only two months earlier. Neither were these staffs with sufficient experience and knowledge to support the Bupati. This resulted to confusion during the early stage of relief activities.
    6. Inadequate communication and transportation facilities: Due to the inadequate communication and transportation facilities in the disaster areas, gathering information and transporting the injured were difficult immediately after the disaster. Transport of relief goods was equally difficult due to poor access. The more remote a disaster area, the longer it took for relief to come. Moreover, the bad condition of roads caused delays in the delivery of heavy equipment for cleaning and rehabilitation activities.





- Republic of Indonesia -

March, 1995