2023 in review

At a glance, here is what we achieved together this year: 
533 organizations using the data from our platforms;
853 Youth & Climate Ambassadors enrolled;
24,402 Individuals Trained;
26,000% increase in platform activity during disaster events;
171,972,349 users engaged
The start of the year marked a significant milestone for Yayasan Peta Bencana, with the launch of WhatsApp’s First Humanitarian Chatbot! Given that 83% of Indonesia’s 171 million internet users use WhatsApp, the launch of DisasterBot on Indonesia’s most used application represents a significant milestone for scaling community engagement in disaster risk reduction and recovery efforts.   In 2023, with over 2200 recorded disaster events in Indonesia, community-led information sharing through PetaBencana.id and MapaKalamidad.ph continued to shape disaster response as millions of users accessed the platforms to coordinate for safety and response. During the eruption of Mount Merapi in March 2023, resident reports detailing the amplitude, direction, distance, and duration of pyroclastic flow helped communities in surrounding areas to navigate safely. During the June 2023 earthquake in Yogyakarta, residents informed each other about inaccessible roads and damaged buildings to avoid dangerous areas, while first responders shared updates about rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts.  

This year, we noticed that residents were increasingly using PetaBencana.id to coordinate resource distribution, for example in setting up community kitchens. Beyond a tool for disaster information sharing, PetaBencana.id and MapaKalamidad.ph have become tools for peer-to-peer coordination at a massive scale. We continue to see that in the immediate aftermath of disasters, neighbors are always the first to help each other. By making risk information accessible, open, and actionable, PetaBencana.id and MapaKalamidad.ph address information gaps, reduce disparities, and ensure that all residents have the opportunity to protect themselves and their communities during disasters. Placing the power of data in the hands of communities encourages a collective and proactive approach to disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation. To further support these forms of mutual aid, we are now spearheading the next major phase of our software development; a “crowd logistics” feature dedicated to supporting resource and logistic coordination at a community level. Stay tuned for its release in the new year!  

PetaBencana.id and MapaKalamidad.ph have continued to support several organizations for emergency planning and response, helping first responders and government agencies to respond more quickly and effectively, including at the national emergency management agencies – BNPB and the Office of Civil Defense. Tracking humanitarian needs by way of resident reports made via social media and through our Humanitarian Chatbot system enables disaster managers and government agencies to see, share, and respond to these reports with unprecedented resolution and speed.  According to Theophilus Yanuarto, Public Relations Officer atIndonesia’s National Emergency Management Agency (BNPB): PetaBencana.id provides critical information for the public to support community-level response and increase public awareness about disaster risks, response, and recovery. The crowdsourced data on PetaBencana.id helps emergency managers at BNPB effectively respond to disasters. It is critical to have increased public participation in disaster information sharing to reduce risk for the nation as a whole.” 

In a time of increasing extreme weather events, information sharing through open data and open APIs is more vital than ever to enable coordinated decision making across all agencies and networks. In Indonesia, the Meteorological Agency (BMKG), continued to utilize our open data streams and leverage the real-time disaster reports submitted to PetaBencana.id to improve and validate the agency’s Impact Based Forecasting. The crowd-sourced information collected by PetaBencana.id serves as a “ground-truth” for BMKG’s prediction models, providing the granularity and hyper-local information to complement and enrich the agency’s overview of weather patterns. 

In the Philippines, we have been working with disaster affected communities, scientists, journalists, emergency managers, first responders, academics, aid agencies, and a wide range of experts to collectively extend the MapaKalamidad.ph platform from a real-time flood map to a real-time multi-hazard map. Co-design and integrating local knowledge into DRR tools continue to underly all our work; we are inspired by the enthusiasm of residents in the Philippines to build adaption tools together, for each other.

We are excited to announce that in January of the new year, MapaKalamidad.ph will be launched as a multi-hazard disaster mapping platform for all of the Philippines! Stay tuned for more updates!  

We continued to grow enrollment into our youth and community climate ambassador programs, with now 853 active ambassadors. We are proud and grateful to work with the next generation of leaders, who continue to demonstrate that even though youth are among the most affected by climate-related disasters, they are also leaders of change in their communities. Through the support of our micro-grant programs and their proactive initiatives, our youth and community ambassadors have collectively trained over 12,615 people in disaster preparedness this year alone.  From initiating activities ranging from post-disaster psychological risk reduction, to beach cleanups, to first aid trainings, to mobilizing local government commitment to youth preparedness, we are moved at the ways by which young leaders are building stronger communities through contextually embedded actions that stem from lived experience and concerns.  According to youth ambassador Arindra Unigraha, “PetaBencana.id has a significant impact on the younger generation in Indonesia, especially in increasing youth agency, engagement and awareness about disaster risk reduction. This is knowledge and support that we typically do not receive at school or at a municipal level – but the gap is now filled by Yayasan Peta Bencana.  

Beyond South East Asia, this year our open source software, CogniCity OSS, was extended to support communities in South Asia and Latin America. With UNDP, we ran a successful pilot in Panama, where the real-time reporting platform received several critical reports in just the first week of its release.   We are also excited to announce our partnership with re:arc institute for our “SouthxSouthEast Asia” initiative, towards the development of a real-time flood mapping platform for Pakistan. In the aftermath of the devastating floods in 2022 which affected 33 million residents, our teams from Indonesia and the Philippines are collaborating to support the deployment of community-based decision support tools for Pakistan; this is a testament to the strength of open-source software in fostering lateral exchange amongst the Global Majority, advancing more democratic forms of climate adaptation. The collective spirit of gotong-royong in Indonesia, bayanihan in the Philippines, and mutual aid globally, that have been renewed through these challenging times is a testament to the strength of community-led climate adaptation.  We thank you for your role in building this impressive community, and we look forward to continue working together to #ReduceRiskTogether in the region, and beyond