Tsunami height poles and disaster awareness: Memory, education and awareness of disaster on the reconstruction for resilient city in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Megumi Sugimoto, Hirokazu Iemura, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper seeks to demonstrate a unique project with tsunami height poles and disaster education to maintain disaster awareness for several decades in the area where the Indian Ocean tsunami caused significant damage in 2004. Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach is utilized combined with field observation, participatory observation and a general literature review of relevant studies and secondary sources. Findings – The major finding is that the unique device of 85 tsunami height poles was brought from the outside to Banda Aceh city so that people may remember the impact of the tsunami over a longer period of time when awareness is likely to reduce. As local people gradually understood the significance of the poles, the number of local cooperators increased and the project's impact improved significantly. Research limitations/implications – The longterm impact of the disaster resilience is yet to be verified in Banda Aceh city. The field research results of the project's process and impact immediately connected with grassroots practice with people to maintain disaster awareness and resilence for the city. The practice to which the Hyogo Framework for Action gives priority connects with building understanding of tsunami risk and disaster awareness with local knowledge, assimilated by preserving disaster records and visualizing disaster. Practical implications – The paper describes a fieldbased project in Banda Aceh city and the suburb, Indonesia, which was implemented in cooperation with local communities, local nongovernment organizations, local school boards and specialists from Kyoto University, Japan. Thus, the study findings are directly related to its practical implications. Originality/value – The paper highlights how the device of 85 tsunami height poles which were built in order to visualize disaster and maintain disaster awareness under the concept, blended an expert's unique idea with old Japanese knowledge in Banda Aceh city by the local community in Indonesia in June 2007. The paper shows that local ideas maintain living knowledge and lessons with sustainable development in the local place after the project had finished and recommendations can apply to the other tsunami affected areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 9
Externally publishedYes


  • Disasters
  • Education
  • Indonesia
  • Tidal waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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