Mount Merapi All hell is about to break loose, but Udi, a 60-year old farmer from the village of Kinarego on the Indonesian island of Java, will not budge. Not even though a mere three miles separates the smouldering peak of Mount Merapi from Kinarego. Not even though columns of noxious gas and the nervous tracings of seismographs signal an imminent explosion. Not even though the government has ordered a full-scale evacuation.
Merapi is ranked as one of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes.
The village of Kinarego is located only 4.8 km from the peak of the volcano.
The fate of the villagers and neighbouring 500, 000 residents, rests on the shoulders of one man-Marijan
The volcanologists, military commanders and the Vice President beg Marijan to evacuate. Marijan won’t evacuate his people as it is against his beliefs: “It is my duty to stay” It is Marijan’s duty to stay and perform the rituals as required by his religion.
So what are the impacts of Marijan’s choice to stay on the mountain? Environmental Impacts Social Impacts Political Impacts and Economic Impacts
Environmental Impacts: If the eruption occurs, it will destroy everything in its path (villages, people) If the villagers stay, they will continue to reap the rewards of living on the fertile, rich soil which greatly enhances farming practices “Volcanoes are thrones of the Gods” and therefore should be kept sacred/revered
Social Impacts: Eruptions predict social disturbance Strong national reverence for volcanoes The fate of ½ a million people depend on one man The prevailing modern culture is destroying the ancient rites and ceremonies
Political Impacts: Eruptions predict political change Strong national perception that the politicians must worship the volcano in order to prevent it from erupting Key politicians no longer believe in the mystical powers of the mountain which make it difficult for them to empathise with the villagers (support their point of view)
Economic Impacts: Volcanic ash enriches soil and enables farmers to harvest 3 times as many crops Young villagers are moving away from the mountain communities as there are limited jobs and opportunities available to them. They move to the cities where they embrace the modern way of life.