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Muntilan turned into disaster zone YOGYAKARTA - Yesterday, after a night of rest without too much new activity of the Mount Merapi volcano, we left for that area soon after breakfast to see what happened outside the city of Yogyakarta. That this was much worse than inside the city was nothing to doubt about. How bad? That is something I didn't know yet, because I had never had the chance to experience it.

Because I do know the area pretty well - I have spent three years of my life in Yogyakarta and was used to tour around on a motorcycle on the roads around the Mount Merapi volcano back then as well - I decided to try some roads directly north of the city in the area of Kaliurang. As expected we didn't come too far as a barricade and a hand full of police stopped all people at kilometer 14 along that road.

We decided to drive south a little bit and take a shortcut road to the main road to Magelang instead. This wide four-lane road was still fairly clean here, just as elsewhere in and around the city of Yogyakarta. Several kilometers ahead the situation had become much more white and because recent rain had also evaporated already, it started to get more dusty as well.

We rapidly approached Muntilan because other road users were not slowing down even as the dust got ticker and severely influenced visibility but we also didn't want to cause a traffic problem. All of a sudden the world around is got much more gray and traffic rapidly slowed down. The two lanes became just one and around us all trees were damaged or completely broken.

A brightly yellow traffic sign at the road side of the main road from Magelang to Yogyakarta in a ash-gray environment after a recent ash rain caused by the Mount Merapi volcano.
A brightly yellow traffic sign at the road side of the main road from Magelang to Yogyakarta in a ash-gray environment after a recent ash rain caused by the Mount Merapi volcano. indahnesia.com

There was much more ash here than earlier on the road, about one centimeter. With all that weight on the roofs it was not unlikely that roofs had collapsed. Trees that were able to bend are already hanging on the ground and even the very flexible bamboo has turned into simple firewood in many places, broken into pieces because of the weight of the ash.

A big part of the city of Muntilan does not have power anymore. State-owned power company PLN is working hard to restore power, but progress is painstakingly slow because a large area is hit and trees did not keep in mind the power cables when they came crashing down under the weight of the volcanic ash.

The rain that fell a day after the eruption caused for Muntilan to turn into a giant mud hole for about a day, but that water had evaporated mostly by yesterday, so the area was turned into an instant dust-bowl again. However 'only' a few centimeters of ash had come down here, everything was completely covered with it, not even leaving a single leaf green.

Outside that it was very clear to me that public life would not soon be restored here, especially if the Mount Merapi volcano is as active as she is now and new ash clouds can emerge from it's crater all of a sudden. In general, the conditions here indeed resemble something that looks like a war-zone, while I have never been to one, it describes the situation very closely.

Elsewhere in the heavily hit areas around the Mount Merapi volcano the situation will most likely be similar, but that is something that I will find out in the coming days as I still have to visit some locations that I have put on my 'wish list'. The area around Cangkringan in Klaten is the most important one. That area is closed down, but making pictures and getting a general impression will be possible for sure. Other locations will most likely to be added to the list well since we just touched down here.


Related link Related link:
Ash rains in Muntilan

Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
08 November 2010 · Difficult search for missing and dead around Mount Merapi
07 November 2010 · 135 dead and almost 300.000 evacuated over Mount Merapi eruption
07 November 2010 · Central Java train travel delayed by ash rains
07 November 2010 · Lava from Mount Merapi's latest eruption destroys two hamlets
06 November 2010 · To Yogyakarta with a little detour
06 November 2010 · Jakarta declared no-fly zone after volcano eruption

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Tags: dead, evacuation, eruption, volcano, Merapi, chaos


Posted in Volcanoes @ 08 November 2010 10:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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