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Living with nature

June 21st, 2007 by Rebecca Henschke 

Indonesians know the power of nature. In the last year alone the country has been hit by deadly tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, floods and droughts.

An estimated half a million people have been forced from their homes due to these natural disasters. While many events are out of the hands of humans some are man made.

Sutami and Peter Koppen of Deutsche Welle radio traveled across the archipelago to hear the stories of people hit by nature.

INDONESIA : Mud, mud never ending mud

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For almost one year toxic mud has been spurting from a gas drilling well swamping East Java in unprecedented corporate disaster.

15,000 people have been forced from their homes.
The Indonesian company responsible Lapindo has failed to provide satisfactory compensation to the mounting number of victims and so far nothing has managed to contain or stop the flow the mud.

Environmentalists are described it as one of the world’s largest man-made ecological disasters.

The crisis has also revealed the close political ties that exist between big business and Indonesia’s senior political leaders.

Sutami and Peter Koppen took a closer look at the site.


INDONESIA: Living on a powder keg – Volcanism in Indonesia

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Shaped as a perfect cone, almost 10.000 feet high, Mount Merapi towers majestically over the near-by city of Yoygakarta.

On a clear day you can see sulfur smoke escaping from the summit of the town’s landmark. It’s a popular regional tourist attraction.

But Merapi is as dangerous as a powder keg – ready to explode any second, spiting out deadly heat clouds, ashes and burning hot lava like it did so many times before – killing anybody near the gorge of Indonesia’s most active volcano.

But despite the threat hundreds of people live on the slopes, many waiting for mystic signs before they believe the danger is real.

As Peter Koppen and Sutami report Merapi is much more than a mountain to the Javanese living in its shadow.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 June 2009 14:39 )

INDONESIA: Indonesia’s Shaking Grounds – An Earthquake Prone Country

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It’s been one year since the Yogyakarta earthquake that left nearly six thousand people dead and more than 200 thousands other homeless.

While officials say they have managed to reconstruct 80 percent of the damaged houses, some 3,000 families are still living in tents and other temporary shelter.

As Peter Koppen and Sutami found out…many are still deeply traumatised by the disaster.


INDONESIA: Killing Waves – Early Warning Systems Can Save Lives

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High waves have hit coastal areas across java, Sumatra and Bali, devastating hundreds of houses, expelling tourists from beaches, and preventing fishermen from going down to the sea.

At least one person has been killed in Padang in Sumatra.

This area is where Indonesia has started to install it’s first locally made tsunami warning buoy in the Indian Ocean.

But many are questioning whether it can help to save lives?

Peter Koppen and Sutami visited Padang, Sumatra to see how far preparations have gone….

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 June 2009 14:12 )

INDONESIA: Indonesia’s Sleeping Danger – Landslide Site in Central Java

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An estimated half a million people are living in temporary shelters around Indonesia. They are victims of flooding, earthquakes or landslides which have destroyed their homes and livelihood.

Victims of such a catastrophe are the people of Sijeruk village near Banjarnegara in Central Java.

On the 4th of January 2006 their homes were hit by a severe landslide.

The devastating force of mud and boulder has almost entirely buried the village, ripping many of them from home and family.

Peter Koppen and Sutami visited the place to see how the survivors get along today.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 June 2009 14:00 )