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Photography — Sidoarjo Mudflow Disaster

The Sidoarjo mudflow disaster has affected numerous villages in the Porong subdistrict of East Java, leaving many homeless.  The mud volcano, which continues to expel mud at a rate of 30,000-100,000 cubic metres a day, is believed to have been triggered in 2006 by poor practices used by the oil company PT Lapindo Brantas when drilling in the area.  Many of the victims are still waiting for compensation, some four years later, and scientists have no idea when the mudflow will stop.

I visited the Sidoarjo site in May 2010 and spoke with the people there about suggestions from Indonesian cabinet ministers and the president that the site be promoted as a ‘natural tourist attraction.’

These are some of the photographs I took of the dusty and hot disaster site and the villages on its periphery.  More than 13,000 families have been displaced from their villages since the mud volcano first began.

View slideshow here (opens in new window)