Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

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Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho 2017.jpg
Sutopo in 2017
Born (1969-10-07) 7 October 1969 (age 49)
OccupationCivil servant
OrganizationIndonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB)
Known forHead of public relations at BNPB

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (born 7 October 1969) is an Indonesian civil servant and academician who works at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management as its head of public relations.

An alumnus of Gadjah Mada University and Bogor Agricultural Institute, he started working for the government in 1994 before being placed in his current post on 2010.


Sutopo was born in Boyolali, Central Java, on 7 October 1969 as the first son of Suharsono Harsosaputro and Sri Roosmandari.[1] He attended elementary, middle and high schools in his hometown.[2]

He earned his bachelor's degree in Geography from Gadjah Mada University in 1993, where he was the best graduate of the year. Later, he received his master's degree and PhD in hydrology from Bogor Agricultural Institute.[3] According to Sutopo in an interview with, he nearly became a research professor in 2012 before his degree was cancelled by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences due to his status as a Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) researcher working at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB).[4]


Sutopo meeting President Joko Widodo in 2018.

After graduating, he worked at the BPPT starting in 1994. There, he worked on cloud seeding.[5] Eventually, he reached the rank of Main Senior Researcher (Indonesian: Peneliti Senior Utama), a rank with the highest pay grade (IV/e) in the Indonesian civil servant system.[4][6] Later, he assisted BNPB before fully joining it in August 2010. Initially, he was the director of risk mitigation. During his first few months in the position, notable disasters included floods in West Papua, an earthquake and tsunami in Mentawai and the eruptions of Mount Merapi. He became the Head of Data Center, Information and Public Relations in November the same year.[1][2] According to Sutopo, he refused the position three times, before accepting when the agency chief pointed out his PhD, saying that people would believe him more because of it.[7] In an interview with The New York Times, Sutopo remarked that he was not aware that he was being appointed as spokesman until he arrived at his swearing ceremony.[8]

The Guardian referred to Sutopo as "something of a social media celebrity across the country".[9] Due to his active presence on social media during disasters, The Straits Times called him "the single most-quoted Indonesian official in the news during any disaster".[10] For his work in BNPB, he was awarded a "Public Campaigner Award" in 2014 by[11] Later in 2018, Straits Times named him as one of the Asians of the Year, along with a group of other disaster management and relief figures collectively called "The First Responders".[12]

In 2016, when the Governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama criticized the province's disaster management agency, Sutopo defended the governor, saying that the attacks should be taken as constructive input.[13] The following year, after the governor was arrested and imprisoned for religious blasphemy, Sutopo used his Twitter account to publicly praise Basuki's success in reducing Jakarta's flooding on the latter's 51st birthday.[14]

Following the 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami, Sutopo made a public remark that the tsunami early warning system in Indonesia was "still far from satisfactory".[8]

He also taught at Bogor Agricultural Institute, University of Indonesia, and Indonesia Defense University.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Sutopo is married to Retno Utami Yulianingsih,[1] and the couple has four children.[15]

In 2018, Sutopo announced that he suffered from Stage IV lung cancer and was undergoing therapy. However, he continued to work and maintained his social media presence, providing information on, among various events, the sinking of MV Sinar Bangun[16] and 2018 Lombok earthquakes.[15][17] However, he had to refrain from physically intensive activities, and was largely limited to office work.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Redam Info Hoax Soal Bencana dengan Teknologi". Detik (in Indonesian). 17 April 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Kepala Pusat Data, Informasi, dan Humas BNPB: Kesiapsiagaan Masyarakat terhadap Bencana Masih Rendah". Republika (in Indonesian). 3 February 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  3. ^ Adithia, Fitang Budhi (22 February 2018). "Mengenal Sutopo Purwo Nugroho si Pejuang Bencana dan Kanker Paru-paru". IDN Times (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Batubara, Herianto (5 March 2018). "Cerita Pahit Sutopo BNPB soal Gelar Profesor Risetnya yang Kandas". Detik (in Indonesian). Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Mengenal Lebih Dekat Sutopo, si Pembawa Kabar Bencana". Kumparan (in Indonesian). 1 December 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2018. ...menggeluti bidang hujan buatan di Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi (BPPT)...
  6. ^ Sarwono, Edi. "PANGKAT PUNCAK PEGAWAI NEGERI SIPIL" (in Indonesian). BPBD Kabupaten Cilacap. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  7. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (6 December 2017). "The crisis manager handling Bali's Mt Agung eruption one tweet at a time". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b Paddock, Richard C. (28 December 2018). "He Helped Indonesia Through a 'Year of Disasters,' While Facing His Own". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  9. ^ Lamb, Kate (17 November 2018). "Indonesia's love affair with its dying natural disaster spokesman". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Popular Indonesian disaster information chief Sutopo battling lung cancer". The Straits Times. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Gubernur Jabar Raih Penghargaan Demokrasi". ANTARA News Jawa Barat (in Indonesian). 23 March 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  12. ^ "'The First Responders' are The Straits Times' Asians of the Year 2018". The Straits Times. 28 November 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  13. ^ "BPBD DKI Dihujat Ahok, Begini Tanggapan Sutopo". Republika (in Indonesian). 23 April 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  14. ^ Sari, Nursita (29 June 2017). "Ultah ke-51, Ahok Dipuji soal Penanggulangan Banjir dari BNPB". KOMPAS (in Indonesian). Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  15. ^ a b Manurung, M Yusuf (13 February 2018). "Juru Bicara BNPB Sutopo Purwo Mengidap Kanker Paru Stadium 4". Tempo (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Basarnas Segera Evakuasi Korban KM Lestari Maju". Bisnis Indonesia (in Indonesian). 3 July 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  17. ^ "The Latest: Lombok quake death toll rises to 98". Washington Post. 6 August 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  18. ^ Kusumaningtyas, Shela (16 February 2018). "Sutopo BNPB, Cerita tentang Kanker Paru dan Semangatnya yang Tak Padam". KOMPAS (in Indonesian). Retrieved 6 August 2018.