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Kelud causes billions in losses

Wahyoe Boediwardhana and Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya/Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, February 17 2014, 8:52 AM

Last Thursdays eruption of Mount Kelud in Kediri, East Java, has inflicted tremendous financial losses in the aviation, manufacturing and farming sectors. Operations at Surabaya, Solo [Surakarta], Yogyakarta and Semarang airports completely stopped, so of course there are losses that we have to deal with to normalize the situation, the head of corporate communications at state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura (AP) I, Handy Heryudhityawan, said on Saturday. Although Handy did not reveal the extent of AP Is losses, he said they would be significant. Separately, Trikora Harjo, general manager of PT AP I Juanda, said on Saturday that the airport, located in Surabaya, had suffered losses of around Rp 3 billion (US$250,000) due to the airports two-day closure. Juanda had to cancel 386 flights, stranding about 50,000 passengers, during the closure. Juanda airport and Semarangs Ahmad Yani International Airport resumed operations on Saturday, while Bandungs Hussein Sastranegara airport reopened on Sunday. However, Yogyakartas Adisucipto International Airport and Surakartas Adi Sumarmo International Airport, which were the most affected by volcanic ash, have yet to reopen. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Sunday that the response to the Mt. Kelud eruption had been well-handled. He said local administrations affected by the eruption had taken the proper steps. The public has cooperated well, so the impact from the Mt. Kelud ash is not expected to endanger health. I hope conditions will return to normal very soon, he said. Yudhoyono was speaking at the Balapan Solo train station in Surakarta, Central Java, en route to visit Kediri, Blitar and Malang regencies in East Java. The President and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono chatted with passengers at the station for about 10

minutes before resuming their trip to Kediri. The aftermath of the eruption, which showered East Java with thick clouds of volcanic ash, has also burdened businesses with distribution problems. East Java is home to several industrial estates, including Rungkut and Gresik, which are home to factories belonging to some of Indonesias larger companies. However, despite the eruption, some companies claim their production has not been negatively affected. PT Unilever Indonesia spokesperson Sancoyo Antarikso said that although its production at the Rungkut estate had not suffered any major disruption by the ash, its distribution had been interrupted as several affected areas remained inaccessible. Contacted separately, PT Semen Indonesia corporate secretary Agung Wiharto said that production at its Tuban plant in East Java, located more than 150 kilometers north of Mt. Kelud, had not been affected. Production at its plant on the Gresik estate, however, which lies closer to the volcano, had been heavily hit by the eruption. The agricultural sector, especially dairy farming, was similarly hit hard by the eruption. Chairman of the East Java branch of the Association of Indonesia Milk Processing Cooperatives (GSKI), Sulistyanto, claimed the eruption had caused losses of hundreds of billions of rupiah. The eruption has caused a serious decrease in milk production, Sulistyanto said on Sunday. Separately, Nur Shilla Christianto, head of corporate communications at PT Nestl Indonesia, said several of its fresh milk suppliers in East Java had been severely impacted by the Mt. Kelud eruption. In collaboration with local government administrations and dairy cooperatives, our focus since Thursday has been to provide whatever assistance we can to dairy farmers and their families, by providing them with food and beverages as well as animal fodder to enable them to feed their cattle, Nur Shilla told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. Batu Mayor Eddy Rumpoko said on Sunday that he estimated the eruption had caused losses of up to Rp 17.8 billion, as apple harvests had been destroyed. This figure excludes losses suffered by paddy farmers, he added.(dwa)

Jakarta to have intl-standard roads


Sita W. Dewi and Corry Elyda, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, February 17 2014, 9:36 AM

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failing to fulfill its zero-pothole target last year, the city administration has once again vowed to repair damaged roads in the capital and overlay them with international-standard concrete. This year, I am encouraging my subordinates and road division heads in each municipality to pave damaged roads with international-standard concrete, Public Works Agency head Manggas Rudy Siahaan said recently. Manggas said the city would carry out the resurfacing in stages. We wont just overlay all the roads with concrete; we will do it in stages by resurfacing damaged roads first, he said, declining to set a completion date. Well do our best. After a year, residents will start to see changes, he said. We have begun work on Jl. Abdullah Syafei and Jl. Gunung Sahari, he said. Previously, Deputy Governor Basuki Ahok Tjahaja Purnama said the city aimed to resurface 144,000 square meters or 3 percent of Jakartas roads, which cover a total length of 7,208 square kilometers. Resurfacing roads with concrete is slightly more expensive than using hot mix asphalt, but maintenance costs are much lower. Resurfacing damaged roads with concrete costs Rp 450,000 (US$37.35) per square meter, a little higher than the Rp 400,000 per square meter with hot mix asphalt. Maintenance costs for asphalt are Rp 100,000 per square meter, while concrete wont need any maintenance for about five years, Ahok said. Concrete is believed to be more durable than asphalt, as it can bear loads weighing more than 14 tons, almost twice the maximum load weight of asphalt, which is 8 tons. The Public Works Agency recorded a total 6,767 damaged road sites covering a combined area of 138,249 square meters across the capital after the recent floods, mostly in North Jakarta. Transportation infrastructure expert at the University of Indonesia (UI), Sigit Pranowo

Hardiwardoyo, said the most important thing, whether hot mix asphalt or concrete was used, was to ensure high-quality materials and proper overlaying and resurfacing methods. Even if the contractor uses concrete, if the materials and surfacing process are inadequate, the road will be easily damaged, he said. But if the materials used were of a good standard, he went on, the concrete would not break easily. A good concrete road can last up to 20 years, Sigit said. He maintained it was also possible for asphalt roads to last 20 years, as long as high-quality materials were used. However, asphalt needs to be coated every five years as it ages, he said. On Sunday, Jakarta Governor Joko Jokowi Widodo promised that the city administration would fix all the damaged roads in the capital. There are around 160 damaged road sites in the capital and we will repair them all, Jokowi told kompas.com during his inspection of repairs on Jl. Taman Pejambon, Central Jakarta, in front of the Foreign Ministry. Jokowi said around 0.6 percent of the citys roads was damaged. The worst damage is in floodaffected areas like Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta, Gunung Sahari in Central Jakarta and Manggarai in South Jakarta. He said the Public Works Agency had been repairing the roads for two weeks since the floodwaters receded. The repair work begins at 11 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. so as not to disrupt traffic, Jokowi said. He could not confirm, however, when all the work would be completed, saying that residents needed to be patient. We will try to finish the repairs as quickly as possible, he said.

Java rebounds from eruption


Indra Harsaputra and Bambang Muryanto, The Jakarta Post, Blitar/Yogyakarta | Headlines | Sun, February 16 2014, 10:19 AM

Life is returning to normal for those living close to Mount Kelud in East Java after the volcano spewed ash across parts of Java on Thursday. Purwandi, a resident of Kediri, East Java, whose house was located some 10 kilometers from the volcano, was busy washing his motorbike after cleaning his house of volcanic materials. I am not afraid of returning home because, based on past experiences as told by the elders, the volcano only erupted once. It erupted and thats it, he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. Purwandi was just one of many residents who chose to return home, ignoring the governments warnings. I dont want to stay at the evacuation shelter. There are too many people there. Some evacuees told me that there was no food or water at the shelter, said Misiem, Purwandis wife, while cooking in her kitchen. Lumadi, another resident, was also busy drying corn harvested one day before Mt. Kelud erupted. Mt. Kelud erupted on Thursday at about 9:30 p.m. local time, just a few minutes after the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) declared a high-alert status. Thick volcanic ash showered cities in Yogyakarta, Central Java and West Java, which are situated hundreds of kilometers from the volcano, sending residents into a panic and forcing authorities to close several airports. At least seven lives were lost as a result of the disaster, according to Mursyidah, of the Malang Health Agency. Gede Suantika of the PVMBG said that the volcano would not erupt again in the near future, but he called on people to avoid conducting activities in the danger zone within a 10-kilometer radius of the volcano. On Saturday, authorities and residents in Yogyakarta and a number of cities in Central Java also began cleaning up thick layers of volcanic ash. In Yogyakarta, people were busy clearing roads and other public places in their neighborhoods by spraying the ash away with water. Some even rented diesel pumps to do so. They did not complain, although their efforts at times seemed futile as the wind and passing

vehicles made the ash fly around and create a mess in other locations. Many have expressed the hope that rain would fall over Yogyakarta, but the Yogyakarta Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that rain would only fall over the region on Feb. 20. Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono X declared emergency status in the province as of Friday, due to thick layers of ash on the ground and a high content of ash in the air. In Bantul, dozens of people have been admitted to hospitals, either due to traffic accidents resulting from limited visibility on the roads or because of respiratory disorders. Cleaning activities were also under way on the runway of Yogyakartas Adisucipto International Airport, which as of Saturday was not yet operational. The airports spokesperson, Faisal Indra Kusuma, said the cleaning took time because the thick layer of volcanic ash had turned into sticky mud. The same activities were seen at Surakartas Adi Soemarmo airport. While the airport employees cleaned up the runway, those from flight companies cleaned their respective aircraft. We have no idea when the airport will resume operations, said general manager of state-owned operator PT Angkasa Pura I, Abdullah Usman. In Surakarta, military and police personnel, volunteers from the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and local residents joined forces to clean up the citys major roads from ash. The priority is cleaning up the citys main roads, head of the regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Eko Nugroho, said on Saturday. Volcanic ash has also forced the organizing committee of Surakartas 269th anniversary to cancel two of its four planned events the Solo Carnival and the Porridge Festvial initially scheduled for Sunday. A different situation was experienced at Semarangs Ahmad Yani International Airport, which resumed operations on Saturday morning as it was considered safe for flights. Rain over parts of the city on Friday morning helped to clean ash from streets and the roofs of houses. Some schools were still closed on Saturday, but others had already resumed activities. Meanwhile, the disaster has also paralyzed the tourist sector, as the Buddhist Borobudur Temple, Hindu Prambanan Temple and Ratu Boko Temple will be closed to the public for an unspecified period of time, Antara reported. Borobudur Conservation Center head Marsis Sutopo said that tarpaulin covers had been used to cover 72 stupas, including the main one, and the floors of the temples seventh to 10th storys.

The effort is aimed at protecting the World Heritage site from any damage that could be caused by the volcanic ash shower. It is predicted that it will take seven to 10 days to clean the temple of ash. Kusumasari Ayuningtyas, Slamet Susanto, Suherdjoko and Ainur Rohmah contributed reporting from Surakarta, Yogyakarta and Semarang.

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