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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Incorporating climate change induced sea level rise information into coastal cities’ preparedness toward coastal hazards

PI: Syamsidik (, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Syiah Kuala University
U.S. Partner: Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2020

Project Overview

Research has not yet identified all the impacts of climate changes on island nations like Indonesia. One of the challenges is the complexity of the available data in Indonesia. This project is aimed at combining two sets of processes—climate change-induced sea level rise and coastal hazards (coastal erosion, tsunami, and coastal flooding)—using three projected periods (30, 50, and 100 years). Climate change-induced sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards is a rarely studied topic in Indonesia. Dr. Syamsidik and his team expect that the project should produce newly developed scenarios for assessing impacts of climate change-induced sea level rise in Indonesia’s coastal cities, combining information on sea level rise (a slow process) and coastal hazards (a relatively fast process). Their work will also incorporate scientifically based policy analysis of urban development planning in order to increase the preparedness of cities in the region. In addition, this research will compare the projected impacts of sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards between two coastal cities representing the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere of Indonesia. The impact comparisons will highlight variations resulting from geographical differences. This research will also offer examples for incorporating scientific evidence on climate change and coastal hazard impacts with techno-social approaches for disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation.

U.S. partner Dr. Comfort will assist this research team with her expertise in analyzing development planning policies. Her techno-social approach will a valuable resource for the Indonesian team. To gather input and disseminate their findings, Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues will organize several forums for stakeholders from the national and local levels. Two policy briefings will be made to address the issue of climate change impacts and their incorporation into development planning for coastal cities in Indonesia. This research team will also produce inputs for improving university-level instruction in courses involving climate change and disaster management. Lessons learned from this research process will be used in revising the relevant course curricula at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh and Mataram University in Mataram.

Summary of Recent Activities

5-395 Coastal Monitoring5-395 Banda Aceh Survey
The team conducted a series of activities in Banda Aceh including resident surveys and coastal dynamic monitoring (photos courtesy of Dr. Syamsidik)
During the second quarter of 2019, with the project now in its third year, Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues have focused their efforts primarily on communicating their research results to local government stakeholders in their three studied cities (Mataram, Banda Aceh, and Ambon) with regard to preparing for and mitigating the impacts of disasters, particularly sea level rise. They have also worked to disseminate their results through several types of media (journals, books, and documentary videos). Two papers have recently been published. The first, which appeared in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (EGU), was actually derived from the PI’s previous research project under PEER Cycle 3. The second, on the 2018 Palu tsunami, appeared in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (IJDRR), with its data being obtained from a series of field surveys funded by the current PEER Cycle 5 project. Links for both papers are available below.

The team organized three outreach events this past quarter for government and NGO stakeholders. On April 29-30, 2019, they held a Workshop on Processing Documents on Coastlines Management for Mataram City to Mitigate Impacts of Coastal Hazards and Sea Level Rise for key stakeholders of the Mataram city government to discuss the technical aspects of guidelines and recommendations from the PEER team. Participants included representatives of the Mataram Development Planning Agency, Public Works of Mataram, Department of Fishery and Marine Affairs of Mataram, Center of Research and Development of Mataram, and the River Management Agency of Nusa Tenggara I, as well as five researchers from the Tsunami Disaster Management Research Center. As a result of discussions at the workshop, the PEER researchers revised their documents.

On April 12, 2019, the PEER team reported their research findings to the Mayor of Banda Aceh, Mr. Aminullah Usman, who received them with appreciation. He emphasized that research on longer-term disaster risks is crucial to support the city’s development planning so that it becomes disaster resilient. He fully endorsed the research team’s efforts and suggested that the findings be disseminated to all departments in Banda Aceh so that they can be integrated into Banda Aceh’s future planning activities. In addition, he fully supported the initiation of a document on coastal hazard mitigation by the city government based on the research results. Following up on the visit with the Mayor, the research team also met with the Regional Secretary of Banda Aceh, Ir. Bahagia, Dipl.SE., on May 15, 2019. Mr. Bahagia received the presentation with high appreciation, stating that the information would be a fundamental reference for the city’s future spatial planning. He further explained that it would serve as a new basis on which the government could put stricter controls on issuing permits to build housing and commercial buildings in coastal areas. As the conclusion of the meeting, the Regional Secretary, along with other agency officials present, agreed on a collective initiative to put together a document on mitigation of coastal hazards that are intensified by climate change-induced sea level rise. A task force to prepare the document has been formed through a decree issued by the Banda Aceh Mayor.

The third major outreach event for this quarter took place on May 29, when the PI and his team convened a focus group discussion at the Banda Aceh Development and Planning Agency (BAPPEDA) office in Banda Aceh. Thirty government officials, academicians, and coastal activists participated in the discussion, which was designed to solicit a preliminary review of the draft of PEER team’s document on the strategy to mitigate tsunami and coastal flood events that are intensified by climate change-induced sea level rise. Once completed, this document is expected to be issued as a mayoral decree to be implemented collectively and individually by all related stakeholders. All suggestions collected during the meeting will be included in the revised draft of the document, which is to be presented to and discussed later in the summer with the task force mentioned above.

Upcoming plans on this project include another focus group discussion to be held in Banda Aceh in August 2019 and a final seminar in Mataram in September. The PI and other team members will also be presenting their work at several conferences, including the Asia Oceania and Geoscience Society Meeting in Singapore (July 26 - August 2), the International Conference on Asian and Pacific Coasts in Vietnam (September 25-28), and the International Symposium on Lessons Learned from the 2018 Tsunamis in Palu and Sunda Strait in Jakarta (September 26-28). Dr. Syamsidik also plans to begin a visiting researcher program at Brunel University London in October 2019, during which he will focus on preparing two papers and a book on his research activities.
Useful Links

“Assessing the tsunami mitigation effectiveness of a planned Banda Aceh Outer Ring Road (BORR), Indonesia," in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (available at

"Post-tsunami survey of the 28 September 2018 tsunami near Palu Bay in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia: Impacts and challenges to coastal communities," in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Elsevier, Volume 38, 2019 (available at

The team's brief reports on the Sunda Strait Tsunami of December 2018 are available through the links below:

Recent media coverage and reports posted at the TDMRC website may be accessed below:
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