Jakarta-wapresri.go.id. When giving a keynote speech at the World Tsunami Awareness Day 2016, Vice President Jusuf Kalla emphasized the importance of providing education to the public and early preparation about tsunami as it can happen anytime.

The Vice President further hoped education on tsunami preparedness services will become embedded in the culture of the community so that the impact of this disaster could have been avoided.

“On the island of Simeulue, for example, when people notice an earthquake in the sea, they will be running all together to the mountains to save themselves,” said the Vice President at an event held at the Fairmont Hotel, Senayan, Jakarta, on Thursday (Dec. 15).

Such a culture, he added, has saved the lives of the Simeulue community with only seven people who became victims during the tsunami in 2004 in Aceh which claimed more than 200 thousand inhabitants.

On that occasion, the Vice President also expressed his gratitude to the countries that have helped the tsunami struck Aceh in 2004, especially Japan.

“At the time of the 2004 tsunami, I am responsible as Chairman of the National Coordination Board to address the disaster. More than 50 countries come to Aceh, including Japan, gave an enormous contribution to help, so the handling of abundant victims and the reconstruction which cost 6 billion dollars could be completed within 5 years,” said the Vice President.

The Vice President also shared his experiences when the earthquake and tsunami struck Fukushima in 2011. The evacuation of approximately 600 victims of Indonesian citizens there at the time, he said, was plagued by communication outages.

The Vice President then took a decision with requesting the Indonesian Embassy in Japan to sentd personnel and buses with speakers playing Indonesian songs to grab the attention of all Indonesian people.

“(This is) a simple way to evacuate, and it is a lesson learned for us in facing such a disaster,” said the Vice President.

At the end of his speech, the Vice President expressed his appreciation to the Japanese government that initiated this event.

Earlier, chairman of the organizer of the World Tsunami Awareness Day 2016 who is also the President of the Economic Research Institute for the ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) Hidetoshi Nishimura said that the Plenary Meeting of the 70th UN General Assembly adopted the World Tsunami Awareness Day on December 22, 2015. The idea was initiated by the Secretary General of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party Toshihiro Nikai, and followed by 142 countries including Japan.

“The tsunami disaster is fatal, as happened in Aceh in 2004 and claimed 227,000 lives. So that future generations can understand this tragedy, those who survive should tell it,” said Mr. Nishimura.

He also stated that the resolution of this event highly recommends education to effectively prevent disaster impact and disaster training to raise awareness of tsunami.

In the occasion, the Vice President also witnessed the hand-over of emergency aids in the form of 500 tents for the earthquake victims in Pidie Jaya, Aceh, from the Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Yasuaki Tanazaki to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), represented by its Principal Secretary BNPB, Dody Ruswandi. Besides, other aids were also given by the Member of the Japanese House of Commons Teru Fukui to the the Ministry of Social Affairs, represented by its Secretary General Harry Soeratin.

Also present at the occasion were Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN Sunaga Kazuo, JICA Director Naoki Ando, ​​and former Indonesian Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel.