WIT Press

Environmental Health Issues In The Wake Of A Major Earthquake In West Sumatra, Indonesia


Free (open access)





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147 - 157




2,858 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. Fanany


The 2009 earthquake in Padang, the capital city of the province of West Sumatra in Indonesia, devastated the city’s physical landscape, causing material and economic damage that has yet to be repaired. Environmental health issues arising from the earthquake also remain mostly unresolved. Many of the earthquake’s most devastating effects were exacerbated by the lack of effective contingency planning and responses in place. This paper presents the events relating to reconstruction efforts in the year following the earthquake and the environmental health issues that emerged, including problems related to the water supply and a serious outbreak of dengue fever. Four features of the Indonesian political landscape that affected the response to the disaster and the reconstruction process are identified: corruption; regional autonomy; technological leapfrogging; and the concept of pembangunan [development]. Keywords: West Sumatra, earthquake, environmental health, reconstruction. 1 Introduction On September 30, 2009, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. The earthquake’s epicenter was in the region of Pariaman, on the coast just north of the provincial capital of Padang. While earthquakes are not uncommon either in Indonesia as a whole or in West Sumatra specifically, it had been relatively unusual for the epicenter to be in such close proximity to a major city. As such, little attention had been given to earthquake-resistant construction or city planning, and authorities had little in the way of contingency preparation for such an event. Official records reported 1,115 deaths and nearly 3,000 serious injuries as a result of the quake [1]. The city of Padang suffered severe and extensive damage, with many buildings either


West Sumatra, earthquake, environmental health, reconstruction