Hazards Key idea 4 - Mt Merapi Indonesia case study


Facts about indonesia

Population- 260 millon (2017) 4th most populated country in the world

polulation of Yogyakarta- 3 million ppl - 25km away from Mt Merapi

structure of the economy 

agriculture: 32%

Industry: 21%

Services: 47%

GDP: $12,400

main exports-

rubber, palm oil, cocoa, beef

petroleum and natural gas, textiles 


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location of indonesia and why ppl live there

Located along the equator in South east Asia 

made up of an archipelago of islands

the main islands -Sumatra + Java

Why people live there - 

  • volcanic ash from the volcanoes weathers easily in wet equatorial climate and formms very fertile soil 
  • 40,000+ ppl live on Mt Merapi slopes -mostly farming subsistence plots for their families
  • Volcanic ash makes for very fertile soil
  • Indonesia is a significant player in the mining industry- coal, gold , copper
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tectonic details of Mt merapi

 Convergent plate boundary

Merapi is situated at the subduction zone where the Indo-Australian Plate is sliding beneath the Sunda Plate.

It is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire – a section of fault lines and volcanoes stretching from the western coast of South America, Alaska through Japan and Southeast Asia.= tectonic hotspot

Strato volcano, 3000m high with explosive eruptions of ash clouds, pyroclastic flows, lava bombs

very active volcano - small eruptions every 2-3 years and big eruptions every 10-15 yrs

VEI: 2-4

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Social impacts of Mt Merapi 2010 eruption

  • killed - 367
  • Injured 277
  • Internally displaced- 410,000

Short term Impacts vs long term impacts

  • Villages on the slopes such as were incinerated by pyroclastic flows
  • explosion overnight hit hardest in Bronggang, nine miles from the crater, which had been designated as a safe zone.
  • Soldiers joined the rescue operations, pulling at least 78 bodies from homes and streets blanketed by ash 30cm deep
  • More than 150 injured ppl- with burns , repiratory problems
  • many returned to the villages during lulls in activity -to tend to livestock- '' we are really scared but we have to feed our cattle"- Sukadi , 48 year old farmer
  • Yoto - used to own 2 large homes now lives in makeshift camp for eruption survivors. she can no longer live in her village - entirely buried in ash
  • more than 75k Merapi residents are packed in crowded govt camps 
  • everytime it rains volcanic ash fills river valleys = lahars
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Economic impacts - Mt Merapi 2010 eruption

  • Ash fall and pyroclastic flows deposited= 130 million km3
  • livestock killed - large numbers
  • infrastructure damage - Buildings,power lines and bridges destroyed.
  • Ashfalls closed Yogyakarta airport for over 2 weeks +  cancelled flights from Jakarta aiport too. 
  • loss of crops = subsistence farmers dependent upon food from charities
  • cost of vegetables in country soared affected the poorest in region
  • Economic losses= $600 million due to death of livestock and damage to tourism manufacturing and agriculture
  • affected both foreign + domestic tourism = hotel occupancy rate fell 30-40% 
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Environmental and political impacts of the 2010 Mt

Crops and land covered in ash, lava pyroclastic flows

short term 

  • eruptions released sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere- mixed with water vapour in atmospere= acid rain
  • SO2 blown as far as South Australia
  • Ash cloud covered over 60 miles - visibility + transport difficult

long term effects

The ash would add nutrients to the soil making the area very fertile and capable of producing more than 3 crop cycles per year.

Political -

Superlan - works for Indonesian forum for the Environment- disaster hasnt been managed well 

not enough cooperation between govt and local province

''Why aren't we better prepared?''

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Modifying event and vulnerability

Modifying event= Indonesia doesn't have the funds to mitigate against volcanic events

Modifying vulnerability-

  • Indonesia Centre for Volcanology and Geologica Mitigation(CVGHM) established 1920
  • works closely with govts advising them on mitigation strategies
  • Permanent settlement on Mt Merapi is permanently forbidden
  • vilagers on southern slopes encouraged to relocate to safe zones- some reveive financial assistance as an incentive
  • Mt Merapi had a seismograph in1925 but capability limited+ funding of programs restricted= weak economy
  • manging volcanoes given low priority
  • issue = people have strong bond to their village site and family fields= often return rebuild + accept risks
  • Gradually CVGMH upraged monitoring instruments to widen geographical coverage - over 60 volcanoes monitored
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Modifying loss- 2010 Mt merapi eruption

short term

  • Local govt work with volcanologists to call for evacuations
  • $3200 compensation offered for a smaller pot of land elsewhere
  • govt compensated farmers for lost livestock
  • Red cross delivered international aid
  • 210 temporary evacuation centres set up in schools, stadiums and govt buildings

long term

  • 16 new sites selected for rebuilding villlages
  • 2682 moved to permanent safer homes 
  • REKOMPAK housing project set up to build homes for the Merapi survivors, 30 million Rupia from govt.

Although indonesia is an EDC the resouces it can deploy are limited 

many of the farming communities also have limited resources.

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