Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mystics Can't Stop Scalding Mud Flow!


They've come from far and wide, hundreds of self-proclaimed mystics, psychics and spiritual leaders. But no-one has yet been able to stop the mud.

Millions of cubic metres of hot, sulphuric mud has spewed from the site of an Indonesian exploratory gas well, part-owned by Australian company Santos, since a drilling incident in late May.

The toxic sludge has swallowed entire villages, acres of rice paddy fields and more than a dozen factories in eastern Java, Indonesia's most heavily populated island, while defying all efforts by engineers and geologists to stop it.

Every day, an extra 126,000 cubic metres of mud spews from a large crater, 200 metres from the now abandoned well.

Authorities this week began furiously pumping some of the mud into a local river to take it to sea, fearing the coming rainy season might disintegrate the dirt embankments built to contain the disaster.

Worried locals too are still searching for answers.

Hasan, a local businessman and chief of the threatened Kedung Bendo village, is offering a new house worth 50 million rupiah ($A7,200) to anyone who can stop it.

He says the contest - suspended temporarily during the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan - has attracted 300 people who have come to pray, mumble incantations and even cast live goats and chickens into the bubbling expanse of mud.

"It will stop sooner or later - I'm just waiting for someone who has the ability to stop it," Hasam said.

"People from Indonesia with their heavy tools couldn't handle it, experts from abroad couldn't stop it, so I think with prayers maybe God will accept it, and it will stop the mud.

"I'm going to give a house as a reward to anyone who can stop the mud.

"Plenty of people have come, they did their rituals, gave offerings - goats, a bull's head, chickens and cows - but the mud didn't stop."

One letter has even come from Essex, England, with advice for the chief.

"I have read about your village and want to help and claim the 50 million rupiah reward when the hole is plugged," the letter said.

"You, chief, take a stick of your choosing and tie (the enclosed) bandana on the end of it, then stick it in the hole ... and leave it there to stop the leak."

But a sceptical Hasan says the area is too dangerous to get close enough to throw the bandana in, let alone "stick it in".

He is screening contestants by asking them to turn off a running tap using their supernatural powers alone. No-one has yet managed that feat either.

While he is scared of the approaching mud, Hasan says he won't leave until it arrives.

"As a village chief I will remain here, because if I run everybody will run away too," he said.

"I am hopeful it will stop before it reaches this place because now they are sucking the mud and throwing it into the (local) Porong River.

"In my heart I feel worried, I just pray that somebody will stop the mud quickly."

Santos has an 18% stake in the Banjar Panji exploratory well, which was operated by 50% owner Lapindo Brantas Inc.


Blogger eli said...

That's odd. I'd have thought that mystics would work for sure.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Aaron N Babb said...

"...if I run, everybody will run away, too."

No shit, Sherlock. I don't know how it works in primitive cultures, but in this country when disaster we can't stop is coming right at us, we try to get the hell out. Certainly, we here in the Northwest learned the lesson of that old codger on Spirit Lake.

Somebody needs to throw some bones at that boy's head so that the Deputy Chief can lead the rest of the village to some other collection of grass huts...

4:05 PM  
Blogger Aaron N Babb said...

On second thought, maybe our country isn't as advanced in reality as it is in my head...if it was, maybe more people would have left New Orleans.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Dennis Dread said...

Doctor Strange RULES!

12:15 AM  

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