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Cablegate: East Java Mudflow Update: Progress On Planned Usg Technical

VZCZCXRO8125
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0027 0580732
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270732Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0167
INFO RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0083
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0085
RUEHCAA/GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0154
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0023
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0172
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0030
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000027

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EPET ENRG PGOV ASEC ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA MUDFLOW UPDATE: PROGRESS ON PLANNED USG TECHNICAL
ASSISTANCE

REF: A. A: 07 SURABAYA 37 (USGS SITE VISIT)

B. B: SURABAYA 22 AND PREVIOUS

This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: On February 26, Sidoarjo Mud Management
Agency (BPLS) Engineers Mr. Soffian Hadi and Mr. Handoko Teguh
told Congen Surabaya Pol/Econ officer that U.S. assistance
discussed in previous meetings (Ref A) is much needed and will
likely receive official approval if the U.S. proposes a concrete
time frame. The proposed assistance includes: 1.) A short-term
technical survey visit by U.S. specialists; 2) Light Detection
and Ranging (LIDAR) site survey by US aircraft; and 3) Long-term
advisory assistance from a U.S. geologist headquartered at
Congen Surabaya. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During a February 26 meeting to discuss recent events
at the mudflow site (septel) and prospects for U.S. assistance,
Soffian Hadi and Handoko Teguh welcomed the prospect of U.S.
assistance. Mr. Hadi said that although coordination and
approval will involve national level and local agencies, he
expressed confidence that coordination will be successful and
necessary approvals obtained. Mr. Hadi expressed interest in
learning of the results of a USGS analysis of mud samples taken
in September 2007. He also agreed to advise Congen Surabaya
regarding next steps. In addition to discussing technical
assistance, the engineers also described current challenges at
the site and responded to questions posed to them via Congen
Surabaya by Thomas Casadevall of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Responses to USGS Questions Regarding Current Conditions and
Plans
--------------------------------------------- --------------
--------------

3. (SBU) What are BPLS's current long-term plans for mud
management, how is the plan formulated and is there a time
horizon implicit in the plan?

Soffian Hadi said that infrastructure relocation is currently
the only portion of mud management with a clear time horizon.
BPLS hopes to facilitate relocation of the toll road beyond the
area affected by the mud within two years. Unfortunately,
recent dike failures and increased uncertainty about the
direction and extent of future subsidence has made effective
planning of the new road next to impossible.

4. (SBU) Are there other foreign "experts", consultants, or
advisers involved in assisting the Board?

Both BPLS engineers described recent visits by Dr. Amanda
Clarke, Volcanologist and Assistant Professor at the University
of Arizona. The BPLS engineers were not certain who financed
Dr. Clarke's trip, but they understood that the Bakrie Group had
arranged her visit to the site and assumed that they had
financed it. Dr. Clarke traveled throughout East Java visiting
volcanoes and will reportedly return during the March - April
2008 time frame with other specialists, according to Hadi and
Teguh. Dr. Adriano Mazzini at the University of Oslo also
visited the site recently and concluded that the mudflow cannot
be stopped, according to Mr. Hadi.

5. (SBU) What additional engineering options are they
considering? How have BPLS' efforts fared during the current
rainy season?

There are no plans to use other methods mud disposal beyond
continuing to use the current spillway to pump mud slurry into
the Porong River. During the current rainy season, the volume
and flow rate of water in the Porong has effectively eliminated
dry season sedimentation in the river. Mr. Hadi and Teguh felt
that the rainy season performance of the dike system has been
poor overall. A series of serious dike breaches have occurred
due to pressures exerted by subsidence and rainy season
floodwaters. (Ref B).

MCCLELLAND

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