Return to top English Japanese
Mud flow in Sidoarjo
(Sep. 2007)

I visited Surabaya, Indonesia, in September 2007. It was my third business trip to Surabaya.

When I came back to Japan, a lot of people asked me if I was safe at the earthquake in Sumatra. I was safe because the place where it occurred is as far as 1,500 km from Surabaya.

Japanese people are very sensitive to earthquakes, and news of earthquakes in foreign countries are reported immediately in Japan. On the other hand, this disaster that has continued for more than one and half year is hardly known in Japan.

Hot mud was blown out during a digging in a gas field at Porong in Sidoarjo prefecture in the south of Surabaya in May 2006. In spite of a lot of effort, the mud flow has not stopped yet, and 5 km square around the crater is covered with mud. The expressway from Surabaya to Malan, which is a highland city introduced on the page of "Sunrises," is also blocked.

Of course we should not take its photos as a hobby, but I would like to present some photos to inform this disaster.

The reconstruction of infrastructure and compensation to the people who lost their real estates and working places seem to delay, since it is difficult to estimate who should share the responsibility and how much it should be. There are a lot of prawn farms in Sidoarjo, and most of the prawns are exported to Japan. If hot mud containing hydrogen sulfide flows into the farms, it is said that they cannot be recovered anymore. This disaster is never irrelevant to Japan in this sense.

  • Aerial photo and map of the region(Google Map). Surabaya is at the top, Sidoarjo a little lower than the middle, and Porong at the bottom. Please scroll vertically if they do not appear.

* Click a photo to enlarge. The photos on this page were taken with Sharp's mobile phone SH901iS.

shima The expressway from Surabaya to the south is interrupted a little beyond the exit of Porong. The exit is very much crowded with the cars going in the direction of Malang.
Guide At the exit, there are a lot of people who run their business of guiding the cars to Malang on small pathes in villages by motorbikes. My friend, who is a lecturer of the Institute of Technology Surabaya and worked in our lab to receive his Ph. D., negotiated with one of the guides to lead us.
Traffic There are "private traffic controlers" on the detour, and the gudie pays them from the charge we paid to him. It is said that the people who lost their houses run such business to live.
Village Abandoned village.
Explosion The crater is at the point of smoke appearing far at the center. Some dump trucks are seen far to the left, if the photo is enlarged. They are for the constuction of banks to stop the mud flow. However, it is said that the effectiveness is questionable, since such banks already bursted once.
Tomb This place, covered with mud, used to be a cemetery. Only the gate of the cemetery was left, although it does not appear in the photo.


English Japanese