Importance of integrating native language into the digitization of disaster and pandemic communication for people with disabilities in Indonesia
Despite significant achievements in the digitization of communication, there are still several obstacles observed in delivering and communicating information about disasters, especially to disabled groups in Indonesia. Another significant challenge is related to the language barriers; Indonesia is home to 718 native languages and even though Indonesia uses one national language, most parts of the country use a native language in their daily communications.
Disaster prone areas are no different. This language barrier can cause adverse cascading effects especially for people with disabilities (PWD). Unclear disaster information due to language barriers including what to do when disaster happens and where to evacuate cause difficulties for PWD to mobilize and empower themselves, leading to delays to evacuate from disasters in a timely manner. Meanwhile, Indonesia has ratified the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities and adopted its tenets in Indonesia’s National Law No. 8/2016 on People with Disabilities. Part 16 and chapter 29 of the law require the Government to meet the needs of PWD including the right to access information. Despite studies and literature which elaborate the impacts of digitized communication for PWD, information on how language can be a potential barrier in effective disaster communications is still limited. Thus, this study, using literature reviews and focus group discussions, and interviews aims to compare the effects of integrated native languages delivered through various digitized media on various disability groups based on age, gender, and income.
This paper was presented by Prof. Dra. Fatma Lestari, Director of the DRR Centre, University of Indonesia, at the Regional Lessons Learning Symposium on COVID-19 and Its Impact on Disaster Management and Resilience.