G20: Bali preps for everything from security risks to tsunamis
NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Indonesia on Tuesday will host the G20 leaders’ summit, gathering the globe’s most powerful figures together on the resort island of Bali instead of the traffic-clogged capital Jakarta.
Seventeen world leaders — bar Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the leaders of Mexico and Brazil — will seek solutions to myriad global crises on the Muslim-majority country’s mostly Hindu “Island of Gods”.
Preparations for 20 national delegations, plus other prominent international figures including the heads of the United Nations and FIFA, are well under way, aimed at ensuring the summit passes without incident 20 years after a major bombing killed more than 200 people on the island.
“I have inspected the smallest aspects (of the venues) since this morning. We have checked everything, and I want to convey that we are ready to receive the G20 guests,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said this week, according to state news agency Antara.
Here’s how authorities in the G20’s only Southeast Asian member have been preparing for the global stage, and for thousands of delegates to descend on an island that is witnessing a tourism revival after two years of being slammed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thousands of personnel
The security measures, dubbed Operation Puri Agung, will see 18,000 military and police officers deployed to the Nusa Dua area of Bali, popular with tourists.
The heads of state will move between their 24 designated hotels and the summit venue –- the Apurva Kempinski –- inside a security ring protected by the Indonesian military, with outer rings manned by the country’s police force.
The military will deploy 12 warships, 13 helicopters and four fighter jets –- two F16s, a Sukhoi-27 and a Sukhoi-30 — along with a Boeing reconnaissance aircraft, another Boeing aircraft for VIPs, and two Hercules cargo aircraft, including one for medical evacuations.
As well as facial recognition cameras, police will deploy hundreds of bodycams to protect the Nusa Dua area and 1,700 CCTV cameras will be in operation.
Indonesian officials have liaised with US and Chinese delegations about their high-level security needs and said they are sharing intelligence with delegations about any threat to the event.
Ring of Fire
Bali sits along the infamous “Ring of Fire”, the Pacific belt that makes Indonesia one of the most volcanically active countries on Earth. An underwater earthquake off the nearby island of Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed more than 170,000 in Indonesia alone.
The security force being deployed for the coming summit includes 1,500 officers on standby specifically for evacuation operations in the event of a natural disaster.
Police will use tactical vehicles, helicopters, mobile command vehicles and “all-purpose” vehicles to support the security operation and help evacuate leaders in the event of a flood or earthquake.
Balinese authorities have also restricted events including religious activities and traditional ceremonies throughout the summit, particularly for residents near the G20 venues, while many locals have been told to work and study from home.
State electricity firm PLN has even told Bali residents not to fly kites during the event for fear of knocking out power lines.
“We want to ensure that activities can go on as scheduled and all (delegates) can feel a good impression,” Agung Setya Imam Effendi, an aide of National Police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo, told AFP.