Sun, 24 Nov 2002

Living in the shadow of a volcano

Text and photos by P. J. Leo

Fear and anxiety is gripping residents living in the shadow of Mount Papandayan in Garut, West Java. People living around the volcano constantly wonder when the major eruption will occur. Each day they witness numerous minor eruptions and are afraid to continue with their daily activities.

Hot ash and thick smoke, which continues to erupt from the crater of the 2,665-meter-high volcano, has dusted areas about 10 kilometers away.

However, it is only Stamplat village, Pamulihan district which has been blanketed by the ash since the first eruption on Nov. 11.

As the wind moves towards the east, thick smoke shrouds Stamplat, on the eastern part of the volcano, leaving the area in near constant darkness.

Stamplat residents, unable to carry out their daily activities, are in need of clean water, food, clothes and masks.

However, the village's relative inaccessibility is compounding problems delivering the aid.