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Merapi Eruption And Its Economic Impact Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 4704 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Recently, Indonesia is faced with many natural disaster such as tsunami, earthquake, and volcanic eruption. These disasters are more likely to happen because of the geological location of Indonesia which is located at the edge of the Pacific, Eurasian and Australian tectonic plates.

Just recently, Indonesia has been made panic by Gunung Merapi, which is one of many more Indonesia’s active stratovolcano mountain. This Gunung Merapi is located between Central Java and Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Gunung Merapi is one of the most active volcano in Indonesia. It has also erupted regularly since the year 1548.

To discuss about the eruption effect of Gunung Merapi freely, this paper will be started with the introduction and the definition about what is eruption and Gunung Merapi.

The discussion of this paper will be then continued and list all the effects, victims, loss and damage to human’s life. This paper lists the details about the victims, environmental effects, the dangerous materials of this eruption, damage and loss to many sectors.

The paper will then discuss about what the government action to help the victims and restores the site that got the disadvantages of this eruption. The conclusion part of this paper will be the closing of the discussion with the summary details.


Within these past few years ago, there are many natural disasters that occured in Indonesia and the most frequently that happen is flood. The disasters that often happen in Indonesia are flood, earthquake, and volcanic eruption, tsunami which are more likely to happen because of Indonesia’s geological location which is located at the edge of the Pacific, Eurasian and Australian tectonic plates. Jakarta as the capital town of Indonesia is the place that flood will most likely to occur if there is a heavy rain with long enough duration to patch a flood. The disaster than happen recently is eruption so this article will be focusing on volcanic eruption. 2010 eruptions of mount merapi. (2010, December 8).

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An eruption can be a really hazardous disaster for human’s life due to its big explosion of the volcano, fall of the rocks and the ashes that can irritate human’s breath and eyes. Indonesia has many active volcanic mountain like Gunung Merapi, Gunung Krakatau, Gunung Kelud, Gunung Semeru, Gunung Guntur and many others. One of these active mountain which named Gunung Merapi, have done a great eruption recently, which is started at 26 October 2010. This eruption obviously made many negative effects on human’s life and environment around that mountain. The examples of the negative effects are death and people getting damaged, many house broken, people must leave their house and belongings and go to the safer place. They all feel very miserable for their loss because of this volcanic eruption.

Merapi’s eruption also affects many things like how things going in Keraton Jogja which is the town that this Merapi located. There are so many things that get affected only because of this Merapi’s eruption. This article will talk deep about the details for all the effects on its environment, the damage and loss in many sectors like social and infrastructure, the impacts of economy, growth, GDP and GNP and unemployment impacts because of this eruption.

1.2 The Definition of Eruption

Eruption is the phenomenon of the bursting out of magma to the surface of the earth. Eruption can be divided into two, such as explosive eruption and non explosive eruption. The types of eruption is depend on many things; for examples, the thickness of magma, the composition of gas inside the magma, the effect of ground water, and magma chamber. The thickness of magma and the composition of gas inside the magma are depending on the composition of chemical of magma.

Eruption has own mechanism. There are excess excreted gasses, when the magma come its way to surface, and the gas pressure make the spread of volcanic material. The process of gas excreted is sometimes followed by a large sound of rumble that sometimes allow us to hear the rumbling voice as the same time the volcanic material eruption occurs. The process of gas pressure is not need a long time. The plug holes in the crater by the gas pressure depends on the rate of gas production from the magma that make the increasing of the gas pressure, and strength to withstand the pressure of gas crater plug. The more powerful stoppers crater, the greater the percentage of the strong eruption.

A fast-moving flow of lava that flow down to river, then spread in the plain at the hills sight of the volcano area can cause into the damages on serious economic and environmental. 2010 eruptions of mount merapi. (2010, December 8).

Gunung Merapi 2010

The massive explosion of Merapi Mountain happened on the first date in the month of November 2010. The first explosion occurs around 10.03 AM that started out with a small earthquake and falling down of materials. Soon after that the cloud of heat came along from the top of Merapi with a height of 1.5km. Based on the surveillance from the Monitor room of Merapi Activity in BPPTK Office loated in Jalan Cendana, Jogjakarta, the cloud of heat headed for the south entrance, which is the Gendol River and Woro River with acceleration of 4km.

At 11.30AM, Merapi Mountain explode again, creating cloud of heat with height of approximately 3.5km. This is the second greatest explosion for the Friday, November 5, 2010. This is surveyed from Balerante, the group of clouds and balls heavily polluted vertically rumbling to the sky with the approximated height of 3.500meters. Due to the wind blows from north and east heading to the Cendawan Sea, and the cloud of heat is heading to the southeast direction of the delta of Gendol River, there are no further report from BNPTK about this explosion.

This information is directly conducted visually on Friday ,November 5, 2010. Around 11.35AM half of the hillside and mountain is covered in thick and dark cloud. The Earthquake itself is highly detected due to the seizmograph signal installed at various surveillance headquarters. Citizens in the southwest, southeast, south, and west are ordered to be cautious and prepared.

As broadcasted, the massive explosion of Merapi before also happened on Friday this afternoon. Due to the explosion, 55 citizens are claimed dead up until this very afternoon. The dangerous zone are expanded from the first 15km up to 20km. Types of volcanic eruption. (2010, December 6)

Victims of eruption Gunung Merapi 2010

This 2010 eruption is the worst since 1870. Thirty-two villages has become the victims and 70000 soul were being suggested to evacuate because they located in the danger territory. Those villages consist of 17 villages in District of Magelang, 4 villages in District of Klaten, 3 villages in District of Boyolali, and 8 villages in District of Sleman. This time Merapi is in critical condition, besides being marked with the the distance of heat cloud explosive eruption reaches 11.5 kilometer at Bebeng River and at different place the distance of heat cloud eruption reaches 11 km at White River, 10 km at Boyong River and 9.5 km at Gendol River. This time the heat cloud that out from the peak of Merapi has reached the height of more than 10 km, the number of victims is 73. Victims spread in 2 regions, which are 69 victims at the Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta and 4 victims at Center Java. The injured, burn and blister victims have reached 100 persons. This condition is based on November 5, 2010 note. In relation to Merapi’s condition that still in dangerous, the government is seeking the save place for the refugee. After the second eruption, 55 persons are recorded dead until now. The prone region is being expanded from 15 km to 20 km. Types of volcanic eruption. (2010, December 6).

Environmental effects

As we know that Yogyakarta is a famous city recognized by many foreign tourists, Merapi eruption that occurred has given a lot of impact on the growth of tourism in Yogyakarta. After the eruption of Merapi that occurred in Yogyakarta, the level of trust decreased drastically and it has affected both foreign and domestic tourists, especially in tourism sector. Although the eruption of merapi has decreased, the influence of the eruption was still heart throbbing especially for the resorts and food corner.  The hotel occupancy rate from both foreign and domestic tourists is about 30-40 percent of it.

Moreover, the good news is that the percentage has increased slightly after the start Adisucipto airport reopened.  After Adisucipto airport was reopened, when the occupancy rate was only about 10-20 percent of it. The occupancy rate and the expected decline of tourists not only because of post-eruption of Merapi but is also caused by the news-media coverage of security concerns the city of Yogyakarta. In order to restore the name of the city of Yogyakarta as a safe tourism like before, the tourism parties in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and related agencies will hold a variety of series of events. Bataviase.co.id. (2010, December 28).

2.12 Volcanic ash

Meanwhile, the famous Borobudur temple also closed due to the disastrous eruption, the area of 185 hectares were completely paralyzed due to volcanic ash that covered the sky. After the great eruption hundreds of trees were uprooted around the temple and the access road leading to the temple was blocked.  And even worse, the most powerful eruption makes the temple in critical condition and unlikely to be accessed. Thickness of volcanic ash reached 2-4 centimeters. The Jakarta post. ( 2010, December 28).

2.13 Greenhouse effects in Yogyakarta

The temperature in Yogyakarta is really high and hot. Average daytime air heat over 33 degrees Celsius. This is caused by the ash which come from the eruption in which covers the surrounding areas. The volcanic ash covered the atmosphere of Yogyakarta, and that is one reason why the air is very hot. Currently, some areas in Yogyakarta Special Region are exposed to a kind of greenhouse effect caused by the volcanic ash particles in the air. In theory, the sun to the earth should be reflected into space by the atmosphere. However, because the dirty atmospheric conditions, sunlight reflected back to earth so that the air in Yogyakarta getting hot and sultry. In addition, the position of the sun at this time also was leaning towards the south and is still above the Yogyakarta area. Sun will continue moving south until December 22 2010 and again leaning to the north and back across the top of the city of Yogyakarta in February 2011. 2012discovery.com. (2010, October 30).

Damage and losses

2.21 Housing sectors

The number of sufferers of the eruption is keep increasing, and people who didn’t flee under the fear of the eruption have eventually run to the outer part of the eruption are to save their life. In the village every night additional evacuees continued to arrive, making the total increased to 2632 people from 2073 soul after the eruption. Additional refugees came from villages with a radius of up to 10 kilometers from the peak of Merapi. The increasing numbers of the refugees make the needs of facilities and infrastructure to increase too. The worst matter is the numbers of public toilets in refugee camps are dirty and smelly. The supply of water for public toilets is not routine. With the number of refugees who have started to increase rapidly, water supply should not be broken. Antara news. (2010, November 14).

2.22 Health Sector

The Provincial Health Office Yogyakarta campaign held a clean and healthy lifestyle to the refugees in each chosen Merapi evacuation.and they have conducted a campaign of clean and healthy lifestyle to the communities, which is to maintaining and creating a clean and healthy lifestyle not only during disasters, but every time the need to maintain clean and healthy lifestyle. The purpose of this clean and healthy lifestyle campaign was held to maintain and preserve the environmental health of both the family and society.

The campaign is very important and needs to be understood by society, in which people should maintain and implement the environment clean and healthy lifestyle, both when in the home environment and in environmental refugees. Ministry of health republic of Indonesia (2010, November 14).

2.3 Infrastructure

2.31 Transportation Sectors

As the eruption brings hundreds and even thousands people to death, it also caused damage the sectors such as transportation sector too. The closing down of the airport by the department of transportation has caused thousands of passengers to decrease drastically compared with the usual operation. It is estimated that even if the airport has been re-opened, it will not show much difference in the number of flights because of the fear of the eruption. Land transportation has also decrease drastically because the number of tourist visits dropped down drastically after the disaster happened. Car rentals and motorcycle rentals which are usually crowded suffered heavy blows. And many people had lost their jobs and in need to get another job in order to survive. Terradaily (2010, November 7).

2.32 Energy Resources

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources will also conduct a program which is subsidizing the fuel in the energy sector. These programs include the construction of electricity infrastructure, the natural gas supply infrastructure, and improvement of energy infrastructure in eastern Indonesia. With this program, fuel restrictions could save up to Rp 3.8 trillion. The number is achieved if there is a decrease in fuel consumption of premium as much as 1 million kiloliters with the amount of Rp 1.7 trillion, and the reduction of diesel consumption by 1 million kiloliters magnitude Rp 2.17 trillion.The government itself allocates the budget for fuel subsidies, biofuel and LPG amounted to Rp 95.9 trillion for the year 2011. Moreover the implementation of restrictions on fuel will be done in stages so that the social and economic impacts, especially inflation are expected relatively small. Otakit.com. (2010, November 15).

2.33 Communications sector

After the eruptions, the telecommunication encounters the high telecommunication traffic. Telecommunications service remains smooth despite the high telecommunications traffic increase both incoming and outgoing around the slopes of Mount Merapi, particularly in Sleman, Magelang and Klaten. Starting from October 26, 2010 4 telecommunications operator established a post in Sleman and Magelang, PT XL Axiata, PT Telkom, PT Telkomsel and PT Indosat. The function of post is not only to monitor the quality of service around the slopes of Mount Merapi, but also serve free telephone facilities and provide certain social assistance. In addition, also for the uplink and down link for a number of journalists who will send the latest news related to the condition of Mount Merapi from these posts, as provided by PT Telkom in STO Pakem, Sleman. Depkominfo.go.id. (2010, October 29).

2.34 Water Supplies and Sanitation damages

Villagers Bawukan and Gemampir have returned from refugee camps. When they get to their homes, they found that they had contaminated the water reservoir of volcanic ash. When displaced, they forgot to close or move the gutter. As a result, the volcanic ash mixed into their water supplies. This is contaminating the water and the water itself cannot be consumed or used for bathing because it causes itching. in addition, disaster response teams in Klaten are mobilizing water vacuum to drain the dirty water. Furthermore, the government also supplies two water tanks (10 thousand liters) to each owner’s water reservoir. For Gemampir village, it takes 464 water tanks, at a cost of Rp. 50 thousand / tank. Total required funds of Rp.23, 200,000. Merapi Volcano Situation Report Part 8. ( 2010, November 28).

Productive Sectors

2.41 Agriculture Sector

Merapi eruption destroy agriculture sector in Magelang regency, Central Java. Losses estimated at Rp 247.3 billion. Damaged crops consist of rice, fruits, and vegetables.

Head of Food Crops, Plantation, Magelang regency Wijaya and Forestry said the damage occurred in most crops in 12 districts because of volcanic ash covered. The biggest losses occurred on the bark of plants, USD 84.01 billion. In total, the eruption causes 65% of crop damage and crop failure in the severe affected areas. Even worse, damage also occurred on 201 ha of forest, 309 ha of state forest and 357 ha of plantation area. The estimate of losses on plantation sector reached 1.5 to 2 times more than the previous record.

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As a result of the eruption of Merapi in the form of hot clouds made a number of areas hit by the rain of ash. Ash rain made for agricultural decline. Thousands hectares of plantations, vegetables and paddy rice are damaged. And that’s why not a few residents who harvest rice more quickly even though it is not time. They are afraid of the rice goes bad when Merapi erupted again.This condition can certainly have a negative impact on residents. Food shortages feared to hit the people living on the slopes of Merapi. Number of land damaged by the eruption of Merapi, required no small amount of recovery funds. Longer recovery time was also given to date volcanic ash still flushed a number of areas on the slopes of Merapi. embassyofindonesia.org. (2010, November 28).

2.42 Fisheries sector

The production of fish, especially catfish in Yogyakarta, especially Boyolali reached more than 15 tons per day.  But, As a result of this disaster, this production has decreased more than 50 percent. To normalize the level of fishery production, in the near future, precisely after the Merapi eruption stopped, the government will do the rehabilitation of ponds and aquaculture ponds. In addition to the pool area of rehabilitation of 114 ha of land, to restore the economy in the fish farming sector, the farmers require at least 11 million fish fry and more than 1050 tons of fish feed. More than 100 hectares of cropland damaged by Merapi covered with volcanic ash that resulted in millions of fish in the pond died and the estimated value of losses has reached the range of USD 3.4 billion. The loss of that which include damage to facilities and infrastructure and the death of millions of farmers cultivated fish in ponds and fish ponds due to volcanic dust.  The damage that resulted in a decrease of fisheries production is more than 50 percent. The worst area that was affected by the eruption was located in Sleman, an area of 117 hectares. Fisheries rehabilitation processes that will be done by the government require funds of around Rp 80 billion. Minister of fisheries.(2010, December 28).

3.1 Impact on Economy Performance

Severe eruptions by Mount Merapi that happened on October 26th and November 5th were expected to decrease economic approximately total worth of Rp3.4 trillion in Sleman district, Yogyakarta Province. Based on information and according to the Head of Sleman district, the losses were caused by ruins of business sectors such as tourism, culinary, commercial accommodation, agriculture, plantation, and livestock. So, In order to restore the economy, the government built temporary houses (shelters) for the victims. The houses built by the government were just temporary houses for the Mount Merapi eruption refugees so that it could boost the people’s economy to prevent the decrease in growth that would likely much in effecting the GDP. Wireupdate.com. (2010, November 5).

The national state point states that the loss in economic activity in the affected area is likely to have a minor effect. The main impact on the national economy is coming from the cost of the reconstruction effort which affected the national Government finances. Because the President of Indonesia didn’t announce the GDP rate due to the impact of the eruption, so its GDP rate is still yet unknown. Furthermore, we can implied that the GDP will decrease due to the Merapi’s eruption, since all the victims lose their homes, money, and property, their ability to buy goods will definitely decrease, and yet the GDP decreases too. And that’s why government built temporary shelters; provide foods and consumption for the evacuees to boost up the GDP rates.

Moreover, the sectors that giving impact to the country’s growth caused by merapi will be the agriculture sector, electricity, gas, and water sector, and the sector with the highest growth rate which was transportation and communication sector with total of 20,3% of the impact of merapi eruption. Despites of the disastrous Merapi eruption, the good news coming from the BPS ( Badan Pusat Statistik ), is that Indonesia’s GDP is increasing by 5,8% in the 3rd quarter of 2010. In which on 2009, there’s only 3.5 increase on Indonesia’s GDP. Wireupdate.com. Wireupdate.com. (2010, November 5). See appendix 1.

3.2 Impact on Inflation

Because of the severe eruption, the inflation of Yogyakarta is increasing, and it is reported that on November 2010, Yogyakarta encounter an increase of 0, 62 of its inflation. The inflation was caused by the increase of price that indicates from the CPI. There were 6 categories of expenses who encounter the increase of the CPI which is food substance increase by 2, 48%, category of delicatessen (drinks, cigarettes , tobacco) increase by 0,18%, category of housing needs (water, electricity, gasses, fuel) increase by 0,18%, category of clothing increase by 0,76%, category of health increase by 0,24% and on the other hand the category of education, recreation, and sports deflate about 0,07%.

3.3 Impact on Consumer price index (CPI)

The eruption of merapi which occurred at Yogyakarta and central java on October and November 2010 brings impact on its economical condition. The impact covers the agriculture production and even the economic market, especially in Yogyakarta. This indication reflected from the information monitored by the Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) that on November 2010, Yogyakarta encounter 0,62 % inflation with index amount of 124,35 which is higher if it is compared to the previous index on November 2010. And this which makes the inflation increase by 6,61%. The consultative group of Indonesia. (2010, June 14).

3.4 Impacts on the Unemployment

So in order for the government to increase the GDP, they kept finding ways in making programs for the evacuees and the refugee to get both jobs and income. Their objectives are not only the refugee and evacuees, but also the people who affected by the merapi’s eruption.

The Indonesia’s minister idea to handle the victims are to invent a cash forward, which is giving jobs to the refugee so that they got something to do with. So the point is if the government is now providing various kinds of jobs to the evacuees so that they can work, get income so that the unemployment rate would not fall harshly. Moreover, a lot of the evacuees who encounter psychological trauma caused by the eruptions which cause them unable to work and get income. Besides food and shelters, their psychological are also crucial, and what they need now is cash in order to live. And one of the jobs the government is offering will be the cleaning of volcanic ash for the refugee as one of their current jobs. The consultative group of Indonesia.

3.5 Impacts on the Livelihoods

Trauma level are really high in the affected eruption area, and many evacuees are stress out and encounter a lot of problems such as fevers, sick, lack of food, feeling scared and trauma caused by the severe eruptions that strikes all in sudden. Besides the stress and trauma factor, people are frightened in fixing their houses or go to work, because they’re terrified of the volcanic ash that risk their life. And that’s why the government are starting to reconstructing the affected area, so that people can go back to their normal life and do their usual activities. Although the impact to the affected areas is very severe, some people trying to live and stay near their home and afraid that their assets and stuff will be stolen by people while they’re in the refugee’s camp. And even worse the water supply is declining, and the water quality is really bad in which it leads to lack of sanitation. Furthermore, people are hoping that the government can reconstruct the affected areas soon, so that they can enjoy their normal life. The consultative group of Indonesia. (2010, June 14).


Obviously, by all of the listed impacts above, the GDP and the economic income of Indonesia will be decrease because of this Gunung Merapi eruption. The decrease of the economic income and the GDP will make a great suffer to the local peoples around that site. To prevent this to happen, the government and the peoples around the Merapi’s location should do a cooperate action like to clean the site from volcanic ashes, help others to build the house and place.

The government have to see exactly how the condition and the damage of the eruption site. By see the damage directly, government can adjust the money and know all the requirement and needs of the refugees. Government also can know exactly how much do the refugees need the help and food or water, not just send the money and subsidize the food and shelter by hearing what other peoples said. Government also need to stock up some funds in order to prevent something that unexpectedly happens like if the food are expired or there were some more accidents happen to the refugees. All of the emergency situations that were unexpectedly happen can be prevent by this money so that the refugees may not suffer more trauma and depression.

To make the Indonesia’s income and GDP increase again, government can focus to other countries such as Samarinda to help Indonesia’s income to rise again. In Samarinda, there are so many companies and factories that can help Indonesia gain much more income with just a little help from the government.


With all of those effects of this Gunung Merapi eruption that occured in 2010 which have been listed above, it is obviously that eruption caused many disadvantages to human’s life and the environment around that eruption site.

Most of these disadvantages of eruption are really dangerous including the hot magma that can killed people and animal, the volcanic ashes that are dangerous to human’s breath and eyes, the hot gas that are coming out are also dangerous because its temperature is really low. Besides these physical danger, eruption also makes many disadvantages in many sectors such as health sector, productive sector, the economy performance, transportation sector, and also the loss of properties.

People get much more stress and the eruption also did a trauma for certain people. They loss all their properties and house, they have to evacuate to other safe areas and left their house and heavy properties like table, television and bed. The refugees feel very frustated because of their condition and loss, some of them also get trauma because they really scared of this eruption to happen again. They also lose their job because of the destruction that this eruption made. The eruption destroys many things like their transportation vehicle, their properties and house, and also their place to do their daily work. All of these effects are really be a big loss and this eruption did many bad impacts on human’s life and environment.


Source: tradingeconomics.com; Badan pusat statistik Indonesia


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