Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Sidoarjo Mud Flow Disaster

In the densely populated Sidoarjo area in East Java, Indonesia, there is a huge expanse of mud, that is the result of a mud volcano that has been spewing since May 2006. The disaster, known as the Lusi mudflow — a contraction of Lumpur Sidoarjo where lumpur is the Indonesian word for mud — has inundated rice paddies and fish ponds, engulfed factories and schools, and destroyed houses in a dozen village, resulting in the displacement of 30,000 to 40,000 people.

At its peak, the Sidoarjo mud flow, also known as the Lapindo mud flow, was spewing up to 180,000 cubic meters of mud per day. Its discharge rate is mercifully half today, but it will continue to flow for the next 25 to 30 years, at least. Disaster response teams tried everything they could to stop the mud, from plugging the hole in the ground with concrete to carting away the mud on trucks. A network of levees around the volcano now contain most of the mud. What couldn't be contained was allowed to fall into a nearby river, where it has formed a new island and extended the natural delta.














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