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Four years on, victims of Lapindo mudflow still in limbo

Sidoarjo mudflow

spacer May 31, 2010 - Hundreds of people and activists staged a rally to mark the fourth year since the Sidoarjo mudflow submerged thousands of houses in Sidoarjo, East Java. Meanwhile, hundreds of others commemorated in Porong, Sidoarjo, by staging a concert, shadow puppet play and traditional East Javanese ludruk theater performances.

Since late May 2006, more than 10,000 people in the Porong subdistrict have been displaced by the hot mud flowing from a natural gas well being drilled by Lapindo Brantas, an oil well company that is part of a conglomerate owned by Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie. Gas and hot mud starting spewing from the well on May 28, when the drill penetrated a layer of liquid sediment. Attempts to pump concrete down the well did not stop the flow. While some scientists have speculated that the earthquake that struck Yogyakarta on May 27, the day before the well erupted, may have cracked the ground, creating potential pathways for the mud to reach the surface, others have suggested that the drilling procedure was faulty by not using a casing.

Some 50,000 cubic metres of hot mud were erupting every day as of August; in September, the amount increased to some 125,000 cubic metres daily. On September 26 barriers built to hold back the mud failed, resulting in the flooding of more villages. As of late September 2006 scientists are saying that the eruption may be a mud volcano forming, and may be impossible to stop.

Latest news
31-05-2010: Four years on, victims of Lapindo mudflow still in limbo

May 7, 2010 - The main thoroughfare in Porong, closed several times already because of mud from the mud volcano nearby, will be raised with some 80 centimeters to avoid future problems with mud flowing onto the road. A stretch of road with a length of one kilometer will be raised as soon as possible.
07-05-2010: Road near Sidoarjo mud flow to be raised

April 19, 2010 - The train track and main road between the large city of Surabaya and Malang has is threathened to be flooded once again near the Sidoarjo mud flow. At several locations along the main supporting dam along the road and the track, there is mud escaping via leaks.
19-04-2010: Possible new problems after gas leak pops up near mud flow

February 11, 2010 - Nearly 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Indonesia still lack basic services and are awaiting full compensation after a mudflow destroyed homes and farmland almost four years ago.
11-02-2010: Ongoing problems for victims of Sidoarjo mud flow
17-01-2010: Aburizal Bakrie forgets his own mess and talks Century

December 18, 2009 - The non-government environment protection organization Walhi (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup) has reported a possible case of corruption in handling the well-known Sidoarjo mud flow in East Java province. A spokesperson of Walhi, Erwin Usman, said that state funds were misused. The report has been made based on an audit done by the Financial Control Board BPK in 2007.
18-12-2009: Conservationists report mud flow case to KPK
24-11-2009: Displaced mudflow victims to get aid from foreign agencies

3 September - Irresponsibility by PT Lapindo Brantas may cause more problems for the people already affected by the mud flow near Sidoarjo just south of Surabaya in East Java province. The mud, that has been gushing out of a crater in the earth for over three years now, used to be pumped away in the Porong river. But these pumps are not working correctly anymore. Only two out of the 12 are functioning.
03-09-2009: Sidoarjo mud no longer pumped away

7 August 2009 - It is certainly not the first time that a new flow of mud occurs near the Lapindo mud flow in the district of Sidoarjo, East Java province. This time it is the residence of a local named Sudarmanto where the leak occurred. Based on information gathered, the new leak started from a drilled well around 06:00 local time yesterday. With a depth of 24 meters, the well started to produce gases mixed with water and mud.
07-08-2009: Mud leak occurs near Sidoarjo mud flow, again

8 July 2009 - Four places were gas emerges from the earth in the area of Siring Barat, in the subdistrict of Porong in Sidoarjo, have caught fire yesterday late in the afternoon. The fire reaches heights up to four meters. A spokesperson from the regional government, Dodi Irmawan, has said that the gas that escapes from the leaks is indeed highly flammable if there is open fire at a distance of a few meters. To put out the fires, local fire crews were called to the location.
08-07-2009: New gas leaks near Sidoarjo mud flow catch fire

28 November 2008 - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has forced the Bakrie Group to fulfill the complete payment for damages to people who have become victims to the mud flow in eastern Java. The payment should be completed as early as Monday. This news was announced to journalists by the Minister of Public Works, Djoko Kirmanto. Djoko told that he had a private meeting with the president earlier yesterday in which Yudhoyono asked him to summon Nirwan Bakri.
28-11-2008: Yudhoyono orders Bakrie Group to pay mud flow damages

30 May 2008 - Indonesia's disastrous mud volcano is collapsing on itself, according to new research released on the second anniversary of the ever-growing environmental catastrophe. Every day, 100,000 cubic metres of hot, stinking sludge continues to ooze from the mud volcano, which burst through the earth two years ago during deep drilling at a nearby exploratory well, linked to Indonesia's richest man and also part-owned by Australian company Santos.
30-05-2008: Sidoarjo mud flow may collapse in coming years (forum)

9 February 2008 - The water leaks mixed with gas which is easy flammable in a garage which is owned by a resident of Siring Barat, sub-district Porong in the district Porong is increasing in pressure. A number of villagers is forced to attach pipes from the leaks so they can divert the muddy water through their houses into the sewer. One of these places is a phone house owned by Siti Asiyah, a resident of Siring Barat.
09-02-2008: Pressure from gas leaks in Siring Barat increases
26-01-2008: New gas leaks emerge near Sidoarjo mud flow
08-01-2008: Residents of Siring Barat want financial help for mud flow

4 January 2008 - Rail traffic in eastern Java came to a halt on Friday afternoon after an emergency dam at the mud flow gave away earlier last night. The railway between kilometer 32 and 33 is flooded with mud with heights up to half a meter.
04-01-2008: Mud flow dam breaks, railway closed

9 December 2007 - An emergency withholding dam at point 61 in the village of Gempolsari, Tanggulangin in Sidoarjo breached earlier today. Before, the dam was used as an alternative route for the villages of Gempolsari, Ketapang and Renokenogo. The dam breached after heavy rain lashed the area for a few days.
13-12-2007: Railroad near Porong gets more bumpy
09-12-2007: Emergency dam of mud flow in Sidoarjo breaches

02-11-2007: features 76 pictures from the Lapindo Brantas mudflow
02-11-2007: Mudflow East Java 76 new pictures!

Earlier news
31-10-2007: Crooked railway track in Porong repaired

21 October 2007 - While former Indonesian president Suharto was known as the 'Smiling General', current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is known as the 'Crying General'. He shed tears when he talked with the victims of the mud flow near Sidoarjo when they recounted their struggle. Back then, Yudhoyono promised direct compensation. More than one year later, the only company to have paid up is Australian oil and gas explorer Santos.
21-10-2007: The mud flow that doesn't end
01-08-2007: Report blaming quake stokes volcano row
20-06-2007: Mud flow causes living room geyser (forum)

17 May 2007 - The Japanese will most likely provide a sof loan with a value of up to 1 trillion Rupiah to help the country stopping the mud flow from the gas drilling site in East Java, which has been gushing mud for almost one year now. The loans were proposed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono just last week. The Japanese government offered possible solution to stop the mud flow.
17-05-2007: Indonesia calls in Japan to deal with mud flow crisis
01-05-2007: Mudflow victims agree to compensation payment arrangement
27-04-2007: Dam near mud flow source starts to crack
24-04-2007: Mudflow victims demonstrate at State Palace again
23-04-2007: Mud flow continues to grow wilder; dam collapses
17-04-2007: Railway near Sidoarjo flooded again
16-04-2007: Lapindo mudflow victims rally outside State Palace
14-04-2007: Mud flow victims block Pertamina transmission station
12-04-2007: Loss from mudflow estimated at 27.4 trillion Rupiah

11 April 2007 - The government has set up a permanent team to help communities affected by the mud flow that has swamped entire villages in East Java. A spokesman of President Yudhoyono announced this on Tuesday.
11-04-2007: Main tollroad near Porong in southern direction closed
11-04-2007: Permanent mud flow team set up
31-03-2007: Pertamina shuts off gas lines near mud volcano
20-03-2007: Mud volcano stops 30 minutes, experts baffled
19-03-2007: DPR urges government to help mudflow victims
15-03-2007: More concrete balls needed to fill the mud volcano

Giantconcrete balls
27 February 2007 - The plan to drop giant concrete balls into the still active mud volcano to slow it's flow may be changed after these balls slid far deeper than expected, Rudi Novrianto, a spokesman said ealier today. The balls slid as far as one kilometer into the crater, roughly twice as deep as expected. Many more of these concrete balls were required to flow down the mud flow now.
27-02-2007: Mud volcano swallows concrete balls
23-02-2007: Giant concrete balls in attempt to stem mud eruption

14 February 2007 - The Australian mining company Santos has been named in a Jakarta lawsuit lodged by an Indonesian environmental organisation. As Indonesia correspondent Geoff Thompson reports, since May last year a 'mud volcano' has spewed from the earth submerging villages, factories and fields and displacing thousands in Sidoarjo in East Java.
14-02-2007: Australian company sued over Indonesia mudspill
11-02-2007: Situation update: Erupting mud volcano
03-02-2007: Indonesia plans new tactic to curb massive mud flow

24 January 2007 - A mud volcano that inundated dozens of villages was probably triggered by commercial gas drilling, research published in a respected scientific journal shows, contradicting an Indonesian Government Minister who insists it was a natural disaster. ``It is very likely'' that the mud flow in Sidoarjo, eastern Java, which has spewed a million barrels of mud a day for eight months, is manmade.
24-01-2007: Scientists: Indonesia mud volcano caused by drilling

12-12-2006: Mudflow East Java

8 January 2007 - While the mudflow in Renokenongo village, Porong, Sidoarjo, could still not be stopped, a fresh mudflow burst has been detected in Kedung Cangkring village, Jabon subdistrict in Sidoarjo, East Java, Sunday. The new mudflow was strongly assumed to contain gas according to the result of a test conducted by Lapindo Brantas Inc.
08-01-2007: Fresh mudflow burst in Kedung Cangkring Jabon
29-12-2006: Lapindo told to pay 323 mln euro for Indonesia mud disaster
11-12-2006: Mud in East Java threathens railroad
01-12-2006: Death toll from Indonesia gas pipe blast hits 13
01-12-2006: Death toll from Indonesia pipeline blast reaches 12
28-11-2006: Indonesia gas sale fails amid Java mudflow row
25-11-2006: Death toll from Indonesia pipeline blast climbs
24-11-2006: Huge hole in Gempol-Porong tollroad
24-11-2006: President Yudhoyono describes mudflow as disaster
23-11-2006: Gas pipeline explosion kills five in Sidoarjo
21-10-2006: Indonesia disaster shows risks of mud volcanoes
19-10-2006: Stopping mud flow at well costly
16-10-2006: Sidoarjo sludge starts to be dumped into the sea
06-10-2006: Indonesia delays plans to divert mudflow into river

26 September 2006 - "It's unlikely to stop permanently for a long time," Adriano Mazzini told a press conference in Jakarta. "It's hard to say when the overpressure will have been fully released. It could be one, 10 or 100 years. But to seal it will be very, very difficult." According to Mazzini, unless the flow stops soon, the affected land, which has already starting sinking, could subside significantly. "It will be catastrophic," he said.
27-09-2006: Protesters pour 700 kg of mud outside Aburizal's office
26-09-2006: Mudslide could last 100 years, say scientists (forum)
26-09-2006: Indonesia mudflow breaks barriers, injures six
12-09-2006: Mystery mud swallowing villages

10 September 2006 - Nothing, it seems, can stop the mud. For more than three months, the hot, noxious goop has spewed up through a crack in the earth at a natural-gas exploration site, swamping everything in its path. The expanding, surreal gray lake with the stench of rotten eggs has enveloped more than 10 square miles of land in eastern Java. The flow has forced 8,000 to 10,000 people from their homes, engulfed about a dozen factories, contaminated fish farms and intermittently closed a major highway.
10-09-2006: The gray ooze that ate the villages
04-09-2006: Mud-hit area closed due to risk of explosion
12-08-2006: Mud may force Sidoarjo residents out for good
11-08-2006: No end in sight to Sidoarjo mudflow
07-07-2006: Thousands displaced by noxious mud in Java

Forum topics
Mud-hit area closed due to risk of explosion
Mud may force Sidoarjo residents out for good
Mudflow scatters villagers in Indonesia

Pictures about the mud flow
Schematic drawing of the event that caused the mud flow to start
07-11-2006: Schematic drawing of the event that caused the mud flow to start
30-08-2006: Truck crossing flooded tollroad
30-08-2006: Residents look at a flooded site
30-08-2006: Villager searching for his belongings

Lapindo Brantas
The drilling company Lapindo Brantas was a subsidiary owned by PT Energi Mega Persad TPK, in turn 60% owned and controlled by the Bakrie Group. The Bakrie Group is owned by the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie and his brothers Lapindo Brantas has taken over the initial responsibility and costs caring for the mitigation of the effects of the mud flow.

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