It is a dream that will never come true; the second meeting with Ngaseri, a sub-district head (camat) in Kediri Regency. Ngaseri is a warm and humble person towards the people around him. Remembering the meeting three years ago and hearing stories from some sources about the leadership shown by the Camat. The story is about the evacuation of thousands villagers from the explosive eruption of Mount Kelud in 2014. At that time, the atmosphere of the crisis took place ahead of the eruption. The immediate evacuation order heard from radio communications were aimed at the villagers in some villages. Approximately 86,000 villages around Kelud evacuated independently in order to leave the red zone. Ngaseri ensured all villagers to evacuate and he became the last person to leave the area from the dangerous eruption of Kelud.
Mount Kelud located between two regencies in East Java Province erupted explosively on February 13, 2014. Kelud eruption history recorded since 1,000 AD with more than 30 times the eruption. The largest eruption was recorded as a 5 Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). VEI is a unit to measure the strength of the eruption. This unit required experts to compare volcanic eruptions with each other. The explosive nature of the eruption caused Kelud as one of the active volcanoes that are harmful to the local people. The eruption of 2014 then resulted in volcanic ash rain for thousands of kilometers to the northwest.
On one occasion at the office of Ngancar Sub-district, Ngaseri shared his experience in handling during a crisis of Kelud eruption. The man coming from Dukuhseti Village, Pati, Central Java, who was the Camat Ngancar, said that successful self-evacuation during the eruption 2014, began with a well-prepared plan. He said on December 28, 2013, an exercise was conducted by villagers of three villages in Disaster Prone Area (KRB) 3, in Ngancar Sub-district. In addition, communication strategies are raised through several approaches. Before the eruption occurred, Ngaseri said that the socialization to the community focused on changes in the status of the volcano and face to face with local media such as Kelud FM and Sempu Raya FM. In the Ngancar sub-district, Ngaseri also established a center with media center facilities.
Still in the phase of pre-disaster, Ngaseri with various parties to build agreements, among others with Kelud Observatory Post which is managed by the Volcanology Survey Indonesia (PVMBG), local RAPI KDR 6, some community radios such as Kelud FM, Sempuraya, and Jangkar Kelud, and then Tagana , volunteers, village government and community leaders. Very strong synergy at local level embodied in the compilation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of Kelud Crisis, especially the determination of assembly points and evacuation routes, and preparation of disaster management documents based on local wisdom.
The special thing that becomes the local community’s asset to live in harmony with Kelud is folklore as the basis of cultural mitigation. Kelud has a culturally inherent story for the local community. The story of Lembu Suro is strongly believed by residents to remind them that they live close to the potential threat, namely Kelud eruption. Ngaseri said about the legacy of the story picked from the words of Lembu Suro.
“Bakal tak bales makaping-kaping, Kediri dadi kali, Blitar dadi latar, Tulungagung dadi kedung (I will revenge in multiples, Kediri into a river, Blitar becomes melted, Tulungagung into the lake).”
Another interesting story related to cultural mitigation is about the signs of nature. Ngaseri tells that ahead of the eruption is marked by the start of the decline of snake-like animals to the village. He said that Head of Sugihwaras Village saw a snake as big as an adult’s foot crossed the village road one week before Kelud eruption.
When the evacuation took place, Ngaseri with other related parties had a communication prescription. Communication strategy built by Ngaseri and various parties are based on the message deal. On the other hand the community must also be prepared and understand clearly about the characteristics of Kelud. One of the key figures in viewing this context is Khairul Huda, the monitoring post officer of PVMBG. According to him, education to increase the literacy of citizens against the threat of Mount Kelud becomes the basis for the next step.
Here is a communication strategy to prepare the community due to potential Kelud eruption so that evacuation process can run successfully.
Community radio has an important role in the dissemination of information about the current condition of Mount Kelud. Radio is used because the media is cheap and can be easily diaskes by residents around the slopes. When the status is at level II, the release of information is given through radio broadcast every 12 hours, level III release information every 6 hours, and status level IV release continuously and instruction of villagers to immediately evacuate. Broadcast of the information uses simple language so that it can be easily understood by the villagers. Here’s what is often delivered by Ngaseri
“My brothers around the volcano, those who are in Kediri, Blitar and Malang, the status of volcano ….., its volcanic activities are …., instruction….”
Then what happened during the eruption in February 13, 2014? Ngaseri shared the story at that time, he immediately informed about the status of the volcano which as ‘Awas’ (Level IV) to the villagers. Ngaseri urged them living in the red zone to immediately conduct self-evacuation, as well as make sure that they were out of the disaster-prone areas (KRB) II and III to evacuate.
Ngaseri unceasingly with a call sign Ngancar One ordered the villagers to do evacuation.
“My brothers and sisters where ever you are living at, This is Ngancar One, Ngaseri, informs to all of you, those are around Kelud, Kediri, Malang and Blitar, that status of the volcano at 21.15 is ‘Awas.’ Therefore, I encourage you to evacuate and leave the red zone and immediately to go to appointed evacuation points. Clear the radius of 10 km, evacuate out of the radius of 10 km. We urge to clear the radius of 10 km. My brothers and sisters prepare and immediately go to the evacuation points.” (Diartoko, et al, 2014).
To ensure that no one is victimized during the evacuation process, Ngaseri becomes the last person to leave the danger zone. The evacuation process carried out by the people in an orderly and fast manner has saved themselves from the explosive eruption of Kelud. Recorded more than 80,000 residents survived ahead of the seconds of eruptions that took place that night.
The journey to build the success of disaster management can not be separated from the role of three central figures Ngaseri, Khairul Huda and Sutrisno (Military Commander of Ngancar Sub-district). According to Ngaseri, he practiced principle of leadership. The principles of leadership ar as follow:
- Take off ‘clothes’ (Treat people equally)
- Present, to experience by himself
- Listen to others
- Accompany and Lead by his hands
- Go to ground
- Motivate others about the importance of security
- Organize existing resources
- Be shaped by situation, experience and from others
- To be a figure for others
Kenangan lain mengenai sosok Ngaseri yaitu kekuatan supranatural yang dimiliki. Masih tertanam di pikiran ketika berkunjung ke Gunung Kelud. Ketika menunggu antrian motor yang akan mengantarkan lebih dekat ke kawah, obrolan lebih dekat dengan Ngaseri berlangsung. Suatu ketika Ngaseri berjalan dan mencari sebuah batu lontaran hasil erupsi. Ia pun mengambil sebuah batu berwarna hitam dan berdiameter sekitar 5 cm. Ngaseri berpesan untuk menjaga batu itu. Pesan yang terucap dari pria berkulit sawo matang ini selalu teringat dan dijaga hingga kini. Begitu juga ketika Ngaseri memperlihatkan kekuatan yang tidak dapat dipahami oleh akal sehat. Melalui daun bayam yang ditempelkan pada leher keempat orang. Mereka mampu mengangkat seorang yang sedang duduk di sebuah kursi hanya dengan masing-masing satu jari mereka. Selamat jalan Ngaseri!
Other memories of Ngaseri’s figure is about his supernatural powers. Still embedded in mind when visiting Mount Kelud. While waiting for the motor queue that will take closer to the crater, a chat with Ngaseri took place. Once Ngaseri walked and looked for a stone as pyroclastic thrown from the Kelud’s crater. He afterwards took a black stone with a diameter of about 5 cm. Ngaseri advised to keep the stone. The spoken message from this brown-skinned man is always remembered and preserved until now. Likewise when Ngaseri shows the power that could not be understood by reason. Through the spinach leaves are attached to the neck of the four people. They are able to lift a person sitting in a chair with just one finger each. May you rest in Peace!
- Penanggulangan Bencana Erupsi Gunung Kelud (Ngaseri, 2014)
- Kelud Tanpa Kemelut – Rekam Jejak Inisiatif dan Kiprah Warga dalam Tanggap Darurat Erupsi Gunung Kelud (Diartoko, dkk, 2014)