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Cablegate: East Java Mud Flow Update -- Residents Ignore Police

VZCZCXRO9127
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0022 0460745
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150745Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0158
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0079
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0077
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0145
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0163

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000022

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, EB/ESC/IEC
DOE FOR CUTLER/PI-32 AND NAKANO/PI-42
COMMERCE FOR USDOC 4430

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EPET NERG PGOV ASEC ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA MUD FLOW UPDATE -- RESIDENTS IGNORE POLICE
BARRICADES; COMPENSATION PROBLEMS CONTINUE

REF: A. Surabaya 18 (Dikes Collapse, Demos Mar Relocation)

B. Surabaya 17 (Geysers)
C. Surabaya 01 (Dam Collapse)

The message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Flammable gas leaks in villages surrounding
the mud flow have led officials to restrict access, but
residents refuse to leave. Sidoarjo officials will stop
providing food assistance to recently displaced villagers due to
budgetary constraints. Some village officials are skimming
money off compensation payments. Local police have arrested four
suspected of stealing pipeline sections from the mud management
agency. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Reports of leaking flammable hydrogen sulfide gas and
new geysers in villages surrounding the mud flow epicenter (ref
a) have raised concerns about the danger posed to local
residents. According to February 15 press reports, at the
request of the deputy regent of Sidoarjo, local police erected
"police lines" around several areas of West Siring and Jatirejo
to prevent people from entering. Handoko Teguh, an engineer for
the Sidoarjo Mud Management Agency (BPLS), confirmed to ConGen
Surabaya that police lines had been established but stressed
that BPLS was still awaiting the results of a Geology Board
investigation into the danger posed to residents. Residents
have thus far refused to evacuate.

COMPENSATION
----------------------

3. (U) The Sidoarjo Department of Social Welfare will soon
stop food assistance to residents of Besuki village, who were
displaced by recent dam breaches (ref a). The villagers are
currently living under the former toll road. According to press
reports, the Sidoarjo government does not have sufficient funds
to continue providing food for those displaced by the mud.
Under emergency response procedures, the regency provides three
days of food. The Besuki villagers have received six days of
food assistance.

4. (U) According to press reports, village officials have been
taking a cut from funds distributed by President Yudhoyono to
villagers displaced by the mud flow disaster. Each family was
eligible to receive Rp 370,000 (USD 41), but in fact received Rp
340,000 (USD 37.50). Officials argued that the Rp 40,000 (USD
4.00) difference was used for administrative purposes only, not
to line the pockets of local officials. The head of the
Renokenongo village told reporters that officials involved in
the scheme would repay the difference to villagers.

STEALING PIPE
----------------------

5. (SBU) According to press reports, the Sidoarjo police
arrested four suspects for the recent theft of 40 meters of
pipeline used to channel mud to the Porong River. Handoko told
ConGen Surabaya that the stolen pipeline was actually a section
of pipe installed by the previous mud management agency (TIMNAS)
and not currently active. Previously, TIMNAS planned to channel
mud directly to the sea, but the pipelines had never been used.
The suspects had stolen pipeline sections on at least three
previous occasions.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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