AIM AND OBJECTIVES – Objective of this research is to explore experiences of people affected disaster in Indonesia and process of growth and recovery after disaster. Result of this study is expected to be the basis for further research in disaster area in Indonesia and development of guideline in disaster intervention in Indonesia, which adapt the local cultural context. Intervention program that develop with appropriate cultural context is expected to improve community well-being, especially the affected and the Indonesian people in general.
METHODS – A qualitative research with purposeful sampling was conducted. 16 participants with various backgrounds in age, level of education, occupation, religion and social economic status were interviewed. Four focus group discussions in groups of five were conducted: group of male, female, older people and adolescents. All informants were between the ages of 15 – 72 years old. Interview and Focus Group Discussion were conducted in participant’s residence in Krinjing Village, Magelang District, Central Java Province, Indonesia.
RESULTS – This study found that people identify Merapi eruption as both disaster and blessing event. This understanding was based on their experience living with disaster, and level of severity. Despite any difficulties they face after disaster, villagers still perceive the eruption in positive manner regarding the benefit they will gain after the eruption. Perceiving situation after disaster in more positive manner made them have positive way to cope and handle difficulties after eruption. Another result suggested that emotional responses reported by informants are fear, panic and trauma. People experienced living in evacuation camp for more than 30 days and they keep returning home even as the eruption continues to feed their livestock. Villagers should make any adjustment when living in evacuation camp, regarding adjusting to new life situation, activity and with people from different background they shared their life with. In addition, they feel that sharing feelings as survivor made them respect, care and help each other. Villagers also reported the experience of both positive and negative impact of disaster. The negative impact was feeling traumatized, poor economic condition and destruction of village facilities. Meanwhile, improvement in religiosity, fast development program in the village, sense of togetherness, working spirit, future planning, sense of gratitude are the positive impact of eruption that reported by the informants.
Relocation to other area was rejected by most of informants in this study. This is related to the strong connection between the historical, population and environment of Merapi as a place to live. This research also found that Merapi erupted as consequences of people’s destructive behavior towards the environment. Some viewed the eruption as natural phenomenon, while others explained the events in terms of will of God and the power beyond human capacities. The last source explained casualties from eruption related to a person’s guilt and sins that violate their faith on religion and God. Villagers of Krinjing were influenced by traditional and modern knowledge that shapes the understanding about Merapi and its eruption. This research also found strong connectivity between individual, community, environment and Merapi itself. This linkage is important to understand the relatedness between individuals, communities and environments in explaining or giving meaning to experiences.