Faculty of Geography, Center for Disaster Studies UGM and European Union Cooperate in Anticipating Merapi Lava Disaster
As a form of real responsibility of UGM in giving concrete solution to secondary danger of Merapi eruption, Faculty of Geography UGM and Center for Disaster Studies established international cooperation with University of Paris 1 and CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research), France, through joint research program under the theme Mitigate and Assess Risk from Volcanic Impact on Terrain and Human Activities (MIA VITA). The program funded by European Union conducts research focusing on analysis of Merapi eruption on destruction of land, infrastructure, evacuation track, risk potential caused by lava flow, and social economic problems.
As a realization of cooperation on education and research, Prof. Dr. Franck Lavigne,a professor of geomorphology from University of Paris 1 who has been active in conducting research about Merapi since year 1992, warned of the big lava potential in southern and western slopes of Merapi. As program coordinator, he often holds working meetings with the teams in Faculty of Geography and Center for Disaster Studies. This effort is done to anticipate secondary danger after Merapi eruption which should concern the government, universities, and community.
As a follow up to the program with France 1 delegation, Dean of Faculty of Geography and Head of the Center met UGM Rector, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M.Eng., Ph.D., on Friday (28/1). The meeting in the Rector's office aimed to report various plans of work and research collaboration of UGM with France and the EU.
UGM Rector, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M.Eng., Ph.D., welcomed the cooperation. He said that the phenomenon of Merapi after eruption needs to be studied in depth because there are still many unknown phenomena. “As a big university that is geographically is near Mount Merapi, UGM has big responsibility to be a leader in realizing harmonious and prosperous life living with Merapi. Only by understanding its characteristics and behavior, we can do it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dean of Faculty of Geography, Prof. Dr. Suratman, M.Sc., said that this cooperation is intended to accelerate and integrate education in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels. Many education activities are conducted under a major research about GeoRisk which accommodates research activities, both for lecturers and students.
Similar opinion was delivered by Head of Center for Disaster Studies, Prof. Dr. Rer. Nat. Junun Sartohadi, M.Sc. He said that education and joint research cannot be separated from community service activity. As a form of concern to community around Merapi, UGM sent 80 students of Faculty of Geography and several students from University of Paris 1 to conduct Student Field Practice of Disaster Management in Cangkringan and Pakem sub-districts by the end of February 2011. Besides, various researches which have been developed are able to accommodate 4 students in S3 degree both from Paris 1 and UGM and several students of double degree of master program of Geoinformation Science for Spatial Planning and Risk Management and Master of Coastal Area and Watershed Management.
As many as 40 French students from S1, S2 and S3 programs have visited Faculty of Geography and Center for Disaster Studies during the cooperation program for apprenticeship, field work or research in the field of disasters. The collaborative research has produced 10 joint publications and they have been published in many peer review journals. “Besides, one of excellent results of collaborative researches between UGM and University of Paris 1 is related to the tsunami in Aceh, Tsunarisque Indonésie, which can be accessed on line at http://www.tsunarisque.cnrs.fr/in_index.htm," Junun explained.