This paper is based on a qualitative survey of three expert respondents in every kecamatan (sub-district) in Indonesia, designed to obtain a quick indication of overall impacts of the Indonesian crisis. Questions cover the degree of different types of impacts (migration, access to health and education, food availability), the frequency of different types of coping strategies (selling assets, reducing frequency of meals, etc), and the most severe impacts in each area. Indices were constructed to measure crisis impact along five dimensions.
There are three main findings. First, urban areas have been harder hit by the crisis than rural areas. Second, the impact of the crisis is very heterogeneous, with some regions experiencing great difficulties and others doing relatively well. Both rural and urban areas on Java have been hard hit by the crisis. Some of the other islands, particularly large parts of Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Maluku, have experienced minimal negative crisis impact. Other areas show negative impact, but it is unclear whether problems are economic crisis-related or result from drought (East Timor, NTT, NTB) and fires (East Kalimantan). Third, there is little connection between initial poverty levels and the extent to which an area has been hit by the crisis, with some relatively poor areas are not hard hit while some relatively well off areas have been quite hard hit. This implies crisis impact targeting and poverty program targeting are two, quite different exercises.
The consistency of the results with other quantitative surveys also show that this type of quick turnaround, largely qualitative instrument can give a good overview of degrees of crisis impact in different areas and trends in overall changes. Although results require further validation and cross checking for use in the design of crisis response programs, this kind of survey can point response efforts in the right direction. Because of its low cost and quick turnaround, a similar survey could also be repeated after six months in an effort to provide on-going monitoring of crisis impacts.