12/29/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA

Java, Bromo volcano erupts. 25 thousand people at risk

Mathias Hariyadi
One of the mountains favoured by tourists in Indonesia is once again active. Local authorities prohibit access, because of the amount of ash, which is destroying crops and tourism industry. The people must cover their faces with a mask to guard against the heat.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Mount Bromo in East Java province, a tourist destination of exceptional interest, is active once again. Its eruption threatens the livelihoods of about 25 thousand people. Located in the district of Probolingo, the mountain offers wonderful scenery. And nearby is another place of great beauty: a desert of sand home to a Hindu temple and a caldera volcano. Tourists are mainly attracted by the spectacle of sunrise over the mountain sides.

Mount Bromo is a vital resource for the local economy. Residents of the area are largely employed in tourism: accommodation for hikers, guides, small restaurants, renting horses and jeep tours. But the rapid growth in eruptive activity is disrupting the lives of three districts, thousands of people are forced to wear masks, to protect their face from the heat. The latest reports say that the main roads leading to the mountains are covered in thick ash. Frequent rainfall in the month of December together with the ash has made the roads very slippery. Local authorities have banned access to tourists for security reasons.

The eruption is destroying the local economy. Residents income comes primarily from the sale of vegetables to markets in the area. Farmers have already suffered damages in recent months from the eruption of Merapi. According to an estimate from state agency Antara at least 25 thousand people are seriously affected by the eruption, and are in danger of being put out of work and a livelihood.

 

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