|+ Indonesia government 'sensible' to restricts aid agencies
It is increasingly common for local governments to ask foreign aid agencies to work through local partners rather than flood a disaster-struck area with international aid workers, who themselves need water, food, and shelter, says ACFID's Executive Director Marc Purcell.Indonesia’s national disaster management authority (BNBP) issued regulations for international NGOs last week, including that: “Foreign NGOs who have deployed foreign personnel are advised to retrieve their personnel immediately," reports the UK Guardian.Unfortunately, Indonesia has a lot of experience in dealing with natural disasters, says Marc Purcell. It's usually better if the local government coordinates. They know what they need, and what offers of help to accept. The Indonesian government has received about 29 offers of help from other governments and over 100 international NGOs.If you are coming from elsewhere and are non-aligned, it can get chaotic, says Marc Purcell. If your NGO is registered in Indonesia and has local staff on the ground, or you are working through a local partner, the ban isn't a problem.The last thing we want is another Haiti, where thousands of aid workers turned up after the devastating earthquake and swamped over-burdened local systems.Tim Costello, the chief advocate for charity World Vision in Australia has another perspective. He called the announcement by the government “very odd” and said it meant that overworked staff and volunteers and traumatised Indonesian authorities were not able to be supported and relieved by fresh foreign staff.
Indonesia were criticised for how long it took them to get search and rescue equipment and aid to Palu and other areas affected by the natural disaster.
But an unnamed aid worker said it makes sense to use local agencies. "In Australia we don’t have Indonesian NGOs there, so why would they have [Australian or New Zealand NGOs]? There are security issues, tax issues, it doesn’t make sense for a country with enough money to have international NGOs instead of nationalised ones,” the worker said.
"The worker said that while there were some roles requiring specialist technical skills, these can generally be performed from headquarters and last only for a few weeks, whereas for the bulk of roles, it made sense to hire locally, reports the UK Guardian.
New Zealand's aid to Indonesia has topped $5 million.
Radio New Zealand reported that the Council for International Development has stood behind the government's stance, saying Indonesia is following best practice.
The council's NGO Disaster Relief Forum chairperson, Mark Mitchell, said a local response was best for everyone.
"All of our members have local NGOs there and are being supported through their international partnerships," Mark said.
"It's best practice, it's the way we usually operate.
"I think the Indonesian government is operating appropriately at this time."
The New Zealand Red Cross is unaffected by the order because of its affiliation with the Indonesian Red Cross, writes Lucy Bennett in the NZ Herald.
And Mark Mitchell again: "It is about maintaining local ownership, contextually appropriate responses for the greatest impact," he said.
Money raised in New Zealand did go to its local partners and its spending was monitored, he said.
Localised responses are important to consider as we prepare for the 2018/2019 Pacific cyclone season.
A collaborative research project between the Humanitarian Policy Group, Australian Red Cross and the Humanitarian Advisory Group, ‘Localisation: Opportunities and Challenges for Protection in Disaster Response’ advances an understanding of how localisation might be operationalised in the Pacific and beyond. It covers both disaster and conflict response, and the importance differing concepts of what ‘protection’ means.