Indonesia is one of the world’s most susceptible nations to natural disasters, with more than 600,000 people a year suffering from their consequences (2009 UN Global Assessment on Disaster Risk Reduction). In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Indonesia experienced 67 significant earthquakes (5.0 magnitude or higher). Volcanic eruptions, flooding, landslides and tsunamis are continual threats. Indonesia is also a country with over 17,000 islands where most of the islands have no access to ICT technologies.
Mobile radio stations serve as mini databases by collecting and sharing data to predict future natural disasters. The backpack is made of light, waterproof and fire resistant material. The energy is powered by long battery life and mini solar panels. The tool is intended to be a life saver for local communities in these small islands, who have limited technological access. After all, what is the use of data that can’t be used for daily life? How can the voice of the community be accessed by the world?
From the questions above, came the idea for Backpack radio station. It’s a two-way broadcast radio station contained in a backpack. A radio station that can broadcast live, anytime and anywhere – especially in the event of a disaster. While other technologies may fail during such an event, the backpack radio remains functional and easy to use.
Where is Backpack radio station now?
Currently, the backpack is in the prototype testing stage. It’s a small team working on big issues, with frequency allocation being one major challenge. Frequency allocation is often hard to obtain, but the project currently shares their emergency frequency with another stakeholder. In 2018, there were many natural disasters. The earthquake in Lombok, the tsunami in Palu, and the eruption and tsunami in Selat Sunda. The Backpack Radio project ran during these events to contribute to emergency response services, thanks to this emergency frequency.