In 2009, a major earthquake destroyed much of the center of city of Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Since the earthquake, the local government has attempted to address public concerns about future disasters spurred by the visible lack of preparedness for a disaster of the magnitude that was experienced in 2009. This paper will discuss the policy decisions made following the earthquake and how efforts to establish disaster management plans have been shaped by public opinion and perception of risk in the community. Almost three years after the event, there is evidence that this local perception of risk has been more affected by a range of externalities—including interests of international aid agencies, collective perceptions of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and media interpretation of this and other natural disasters—than by the actual situation in the city of Padang based on its own history and experience. The ways in which risk has been analysed and the meanings given to various forms of evidence will be discussed here to show the impact a major disaster can have on the perception of risk and, in turn, affect management and preparedness efforts.
|Keywords:||Disaster Management, Policy, Earthquake, Indonesia|
Tutor, School of Public Health and Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia