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This time Mud-Volcano…
Indonesia has a tough task keeping the muddy volcano out

The world’s largest archipelagic country, Indonesia has consecutively been afflicted by natural as well as man-made disasters. First the 2004 tsunami, then Merapi volcano and a major earthquake in Yogyakarta, and now, a heavily populated region of east Java of the country is distressed by an unstoppable ‘Mud-Volcano’. This is contradictorily the ‘worst industrial disaster’ in the country, caused by oil and gas drilling projects.

British researchers released a report which stated that the exploratory gas punched thin, liquid mud which erupted into the surface. Mud has inundated more than 4 villages, 20 factories, 15 mosques, a cemetery, and 18 schools. It has swamped a main road to Bali and will flood an important rail line soon too. Shockingly, thin mud is flowing for long distances and longer time, indicating that it is not going to stop easily. More importantly, the mud is coming out 31.2 miles below the surface creating a cavern, which leads to the danger of land collapse around the volcano.

Problems may remain if the eruption is faster than the dumping of mud into the sea, which the government has planned. On the other hand, environmentalists oppose it as it may threaten the marine ecosystem. An environmental group, Wahli estimates, the clean-up project will cost $200 million alone, while that is the amount needed for helping the affected families. So the government has a dual task at hand. Not only do they have to clear moutains of mud, there is also the big question of rehabilitating thousands of people who have been devastated by the mud rush. It is not the first time that Indonesia has been threatened, but each time, the menace seems larger.

Tanaya Bose

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