New film to educate Indonesians on disaster preparedness

Disaster mitigation agencies and renowned filmmakers in Indonesia have embarked on a new project, aiming to produce an entertaining yet educational film for people living in the Ring of Fire about reducing the risks during natural disasters.

“Message from the Ocean” (Pesan Dari Samudra) is scheduled for national television broadcast on December 26th, the eighth anniversary of the massive earthquake that struck the Indian Ocean off the coast of Aceh and triggered a tsunami which killed more than 120,000 people in the province, Anggun Permana Siddiq, a spokesman for the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) told Khabar Southeast Asia.

“It would serve as a constant reminder that natural disasters are a fact of life in the country and that people should be aware of what to do before, during and after an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disasters as part of disaster mitigation efforts,” he said.

Director Riri Riza and Miles Films producer Mira Lesmana were scheduled to complete the first phase of shooting in East Nusa Tenggara province on October 18th, then return to Jakarta for the second phase, Australian Red Cross spokesman in Indonesia Arifin Fitrianto said.

“They are shooting the film in various areas such as the shore and the higher grounds to portray what happens when an earthquake and a tsunami strikes a region,” Arifin told Khabar.

The film’s message sent by the ocean is that the public should heed warning signs such as irregular behaviour and movements by animals and fish, each believed able to predict an earthquake or a tsunami is coming.

Funded by the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR), the film will tell a story about family members who live in Jakarta and East Nusa Tenggara but reunite after an earthquake and tsunami hit the region. Award-winning actor Lukman Sardi plays the role of Sakti and newcomer Putri Ayudya plays Nara. Bintang Panglima plays Samudra.

“We sat together with PMI and the Australian Red Cross to discuss the plan to make a film about disaster mitigation. We realise that a lot of Indonesians who live in areas prone to natural disasters are unaware of the risks and we aim to send that message through this film,” said Mira Lesmana, who wrote the script, at a recent press conference to launch the film in Jakarta.

The film will also tell the audience what they can do to survive in the absence of relief efforts that might take time to reach the disaster-stricken area. National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Indonesia is a “multi-disaster country” in which five million people live in tsunami-prone areas.

“This is why promoting awareness about disaster mitigation is important. The country’s vast geographical area makes mitigation and preparedness the keys to face the risks of disasters. We will also distribute this film to 180 countries through PMI’s network,” he said.[]

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