Sejarah #1 Ambon Tsunami And R A Kartini’s Approach

Tsunamis are both Acts Of God and geological phenomena.

On the 17th of February, 1674, a very severe Tsunami in the island of Ambon, in what was then known as the Spice Islands, saw the rush inland of ocean water water 100 meters high killing over 2,000 people.

Approximately two and a quarter centuries later, writing after the event about a local flooding disaster in Java in 1899, socially conscious women’s rights pioneer Javanese princess, Raden Ajeng Kartini, wrote of the plight of the people:

“If the “West Wind,” as now, causes the rising of the waters in the rivers, and the dikes break, the rulers do all that is possible to mitigate the distress. Last year a fishing village lay for a whole week under water; day and night Father remained at the scene of the disaster. Out of special funds that were at the disposal of the Government, the breaks in the dikes were restored for some kilometers. But who was to give back to the people what the water had taken away from them? And what of the fish in the rivers destroyed by the floods?” (12th January, 1900)

Words of R.A. Kartini from 1900 with an image from the aftermath of the Aceh tsunami of 2004.

Geoff Fox, 17th February, 2023, Down Under

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