10 October, 2006

ladies and gentlemen, we are in the handbasket

I seem to have missed this story:

INDONESIA'S president has declared a disaster zone over part of East Java swamped by a mudspill, and ordered that four affected villages be abandoned, a government minister said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered that the Indonesian company responsible for drilling a gas well near where the mud has been flowing pay at least 1.5 trillion rupiah ($218.5 million) to deal with the mess.
The toxic mud has been oozing from from beneath the earth's crust for 4 months. It is still flowing.
The sulfuric mud, which began spewing from the ground near a gas drilling site in May, is erupting at a rate of 126,000 cubic metres a day and has affected eight villages and displaced some 12,000 people.

Experts have said they cannot predict when – or if – the mud will stop seeping from the ground...

The drilling company that was working at the site, and which is owned by the family of the Indonesian welfare minister, has denied it is to blame and says an earthquake nearby may have caused the phenomenon.

Yudhoyono however has ordered the firm to pay...
Lapindo Brantas - the company whose operations have become the site of this "natural" disaster - is part owned by Santos, Australia's largest oil and gas prospector.

And according to
this article, MedcoEnergi Oil & Gas - Lapindo's partner company - claim the operator did not adhere to the safety standards required to prevent "potential hole problems".

The Indonesian President is stating, in no uncertain terms, that he holds Lapindo Brantas responsible for the catastrophe. Our media, of course, don't go quite so far as to imply a cause-and-effect relationship.

As for me, I don't know what to think. I just know that it all makes me rather scared for the state of the world.

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Anonymous Hooch said...

Oh. My. God. How did I not hear about this....?

October 13, 2006 5:01 pm  
Blogger Steph said...

I am appalled at the lack of media attention both here and overseas about this disaster.
Why are we not organising aid and releif funds???


October 14, 2006 11:57 am  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

I know what you both mean - it seems insane. When I saw this on the news, it was buried as a throw-away story right before the Sport.

Even aside from the aid & relief efforts (it's sad, but we're well used to disasters in non-anglo places being overlooked), shouldn't we be ascertaining whether it's true that the catastrophe was caused by a company's activities, and bring them to justice if appropriate?

October 17, 2006 11:47 pm  

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