Still Lost Lives!
I wanted to post this overhead view of the Sidoarjo Mudflow (which local people refer to as Lapindo), but it’s way too big to fit on this page.
The mudflow has been erupting since May 28, 2006; it’s the largest in the world and has displaced more than 40,000 people and it will probably outlive us all.
I haven’t written about it much recently, but a search of my archives in the right sidebar for Lapindo and/or Sidoarjo Mudflow will find many posts and references, including an ‘interview’ with Abdurizal Bakrie, whose family owned Lapindo Brantas has once again this week and finally (?) been held responsible for the disaster.
In my interview with AB, he ‘told’ me this: “You know about the mudflow was caused by the Yogya earthquake .. yeah, yeah, I’m getting fed up with the lies of geologists … but we’re interested in a win-win situation.
“We’re planning a worldwide chain of Sidoarjo Spas which would offer mud baths, along with the usual manicures, pedicures and so on. The so-called ‘refugees’ in the area will be shareholders. This is why we’ve only paid them 20% of the compensation they were expecting; the rest will be invested in shares which we anticipate will yield a healthy 2% per annum and …… ”
Ah, yes, the compensation.
Last December, just over six months ago, the government finally agreed “to go another extra mile to bail out the powerful Bakrie family to settle the remaining compensation for victims of the Lapindo mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java.”
This was three years after it was announced that “compensation would come soon“.
This is Ramadhan, the Muslim fasting month, an expensive time when food prices rise, thanks to hoarders, everyone seeks to look their finest, to make donations and to give presents to loved ones back in their home villages and towns.
One can only think that those still waiting for the agreed compensation for the loss of their land heard this news just over a week ago: No money for Lapindo victims before Idul Fitri.
The victims of the Lapindo mudflow in Sidoarjo, East Java, will have to postpone spending Rp 781 billion (US$60 million) in compensation until after the Idul Fitri celebrations because of a prolonged document-verification process.
The compensation is a loan from the central government to PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya (MLJ), the unit of a holding group belonging to business tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, which is responsible for paying for the victims’ land that was engulfed in the mud.
“We’ve only received 44 files [of the 3,337 which need to be processed] from MLJ today. Not all the files relating to affected residents have been recorded as clear, as some still need to be verified again,” the Lapindo Mudflow Mitigation Agency (BPLS) protection and social empowerment working group leader Priambodo said at the Sidoarjo regency hall on Friday.
What are the odds that I will be posting something similar next year?