Wilson, T.M.; Kaye, G.D.; Stewart, C.; Cole, J.W. 2007 Impacts of the 2006 eruption of Merapi volcano, Indonesia, on agriculture and infrastructure. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2007/07 64 p.
Abstract: This report presents first-hand observations of the impacts of the 2006 eruptions of Merapi volcano, in central Java, on agriculture and infrastructure of the Yogyakarta region. A field team visited the region during the period 22 June – 5 July 2006, representing the University of Canterbury’s Natural Hazards Research Centre, GNS Science, the New Zealand Earthquake Commission and the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. In addition to coverage of agricultural and infrastructural impacts, this report also includes a description of the volcanology of the 2006 eruptions, and a discussion of the Indonesian response to the volcanic crisis including evacuation and crisis management. Agriculture received the most damage of any economic sector, mostly due to the close proximity of a significant number of farms to Merapi volcano. Impacts on crops varied with ash thickness, as well as by crop type and plant maturity. Up to 100% of crops were lost in some locations. Significant weight loss in cows was observed, due to animals eating tephra-covered fodder. Overall, impacts to infrastructure were slight. Lifeline utilities and other infrastructure exhibited a higher degree of resilience than expected, probably due to the absence of rain as the eruption occurred during the dry season. Deposits left from the eruption on the upper, south-facing slopes of Merapi still pose a severe lahar threat to the floodplains below in times of heavy rain. Despite their relatively small size, the 2006 eruptions of Merapi caused two deaths, the destruction of most of the village of Bebeng/Kaliadem, the displacement of tens of thousands of people, and significant impacts on the agriculture of the region. We conclude this report by attempting to draw lessons for New Zealand from our findings. (auth)