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Who are We in the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Publicatiedatum: 17/04/2020

In February we were shocked by the global Covid-19 virus. A month later the Indonesian President announced the first two Covid-19 cases in Indonesia. The cases have now spread over 30 provinces, most severe cases happen in Jakarta. Indonesia. Indonesians have work at home and seek a new balance

Working from home together

ICCO Indonesia closed the office until the end of May, but at the same time continues to maintain relations with partners in Jakarta, East and West Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, North Moluccas, Bali, East – Central Java, Jogjakarta, Bangka, Lampung and North Sumatra provinces.

Now it turns differently. The situation compels that everyone must stay at home and away from any crowd. It is not an easy situation, so that’s why staying home recently turns to a higher level. Stay at home and work from home is not only to avoid potential hot spots, but it's also a way to support medical emergency response from government agencies. When you love your parents and family, when you are called by your nation, you can stay, worship and work from home.

Yes, thousands of Mosques, Temples and Churches provide live streaming services. And yes, millions of people stay at home, also to support them who cannot afford to work from home, socially and financially. The President said: “a national lockdown scenario is not yet in my mind”, as an expression of appreciation to the million of daily workers, blue collars officers and migrant workers. Later in the month he announced that Indonesia is in the Emergency Situation (March, 30th). Military will hand in hand with the Civil Authority strengthen the public orders and stricter law enforcement, including the physical distancing.

The government has shown a solid commitment to uphold social orders since the President declared Covid-19 as National Disaster. This announcement leads us to respect the strict protocol and procedure under the Emergency Phase (March – May 2020). The security, police and military department has been in coordination with civil authority and the rules need to be applied. There is a restriction to have face to face meetings. Public meetings with up to 20 attendants must obtain permission from the government and it makes participants hesitant to attend. The Civic Engagement Alliance agenda in Indonesia is affected by this.The physical distancing causes the cancellation of public gatherings.

Everyone is affected

On the other side, the lives of regular people have slowed down but are affected by the increased (imported) food price some days before the Indonesian Government decided to suspend the export and import with China.

China is the biggest buyer of Indonesian goods and commodities, contributing to about 15% of Indonesian exports. They buy coal, stainless steel and palm oil from Indonesia, while Indonesia buys fruit, spices and other food and beverages from China. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the impact between China – Indonesia agriculture trading has mostly affected 10 strategic commodities (in Indonesia): rice, chicken, beef, garlic, red onion, red chili, bird’s eye chili, egg, sugar, and vegetable oil at the national and sub-national levels. In addition, the trend and price analysis of other commodities such as ginger and curcuma are also presented as quoted from WFP report (2020).

It is not yet confirmed how the work from home gives impact to the smallholder farmers. The protocol of work from home affecting urban communities more than village communities. Yet the physical distancing has more impact to all people in general (in city and urban). Traditional markets still operate with limited hours and every person has to pass a room with disinfectant sprays. All terminals, shops and public administration services have cut the working hour as well.
When I wrote this article (Wednesday (3/25)) , there were 5,816 people who registered themselves online as COVID-19 volunteers. They consist of 4,008 non-medical volunteers and 1,808 medical ones, said Dandi Prasetia, chairman of the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Society (MPBI) during a press conference at the Office of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Community resilience

The triple nexus of development, security and humanitarian as a methodological approach so far, has been implemented by ICCO and partners in some projects as new knowledge. We must understand the vulnerability and risk in the country with most active volcano eruptions, active geological movements, shocks and earthquakes, climate change and a longer dry season in many places in Indonesia.The community resilience needs to be strengthened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Development work without understanding the security aspect, without practicing the Do No Harm Principle, without responding to the crisis with humanitarian action will put criticism to civil society organizations on the urgency of receiving public funds. The funding allocation might change and yet allocating to health crises.

Indonesia and G-20 on Covid-19 agree to prioritize leadership, coordination, cooperation (between communities and companies) and solidarity as key factors to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. The final output of the G-20 extraordinary meeting (video conference) is a leaders' statement that comprises the four issues of efforts on fighting against the pandemic, safeguarding the global economy, addressing trade disruption, and strengthening global partnership.

In Indonesia itself, as home of around 61%-65% informal sector, most of their expenditure is for (daily) food. Without sufficient subsidies and nutritious food and basic services, it would be a vulnerable situation to fighting the pandemic.

We believe the voice of civil society organizations and community organizations is heard and needed. The Civic Engagement Alliance and other alliances in the world shared the same values: “saving human lives is the ultimate law”.

Kiswara Santi, Coordinator Civic Engagement Alliance Indonesia

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