Fieldwork on Disaster and Disabilities in Banda Aceh, Indonesia (29 Jan – 8 Feb, 2024)


On January 29-February 8, 2024, Associate Professor Sebastien Boret, Assistant Professor Hyejeong Park, and co-researchers in Indonesia (Alfi Rahman, Syiah Kuala University; Pradytia Putri Pertiwi, Gadjah Mada University; Muzayin Nazaruddin, Universitas Islam Indonesia; Yulia Direzkia, Clinical Psychologist, Aceh General Hospital) carried out fieldwork on disaster and disabilities in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. This collaborative research is titled “A Study on Disaster and Disabilities in Indonesia: Learning from the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami.” Referring to the slogan “Leave No One Behind” created by the 2015 UNSDG, the study aims to understand the needs of people with disabilities and their caregivers and provide opportunities for inclusive disaster risk reduction activities. Considering multiple fieldwork within three years, we tried to understand the experiences of people with disability during the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in Aceh and investigate the recent regulations and instruments the Aceh government has developed to reduce disaster risks for people with disability.

During the fieldwork, they visited two model schools, which are a high school (Man 1) and an elementary school (Min 9), supported by the national government for inclusive educational systems, and a support school (SLB TNCC), as an elementary school, for pupils with various disabilities. We interviewed the principal and teachers to investigate how society could integrate people with disability into multiple schools’ curricula, as well as the need for disaster preparedness. They conducted interviews with NGOs working for people with disability and regulation development in Aceh. They observed that despite abundant efforts from the government and foreign aid, there are still numerous vulnerable people, including people with disability and a lack of welfare systems. Eventually, they had meetings with individual participants to understand the social environment for people with disability, their disaster experiences, and the need for disaster preparedness. These participants included various people dealing with disability, such as a mother raising a son with intellectual disability and a lady who lost her leg during the 2004 tsunami and is currently leading a group supporting young people with disabilities.

Finally, they visited the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC) at Syiah Kuala University to discuss AIWEST-DR for the 20th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami on November 8-9, 2024. Based on our collaborative research group’s various field experiences and indigenous knowledge, this conference will contribute to making further practical and systemic steps for implementing inclusive disaster risk reduction and enhancing the capacity for disaster risks.

Report by Sebastien Boret (International Research Collaboration Office), Hyejeong Park (Disaster Medical Informatics Lab)


Collaborators, teachers, and students in a support school

Research meeting at a collaborator’s home

TDMRC at Syiah Kuala University

Model High School Man 1 Instagram Post