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Page added on August 30, 2006

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11,000 people flee homes as hot toxic mud engulfs villages and farmland

Four villages and 19 factories have been submerged in a 240-hectare (600-acre) sea of mud in East Java that is growing up to 50,000 cubic metres a day in a major environmental disaster triggered during an oil exploration venture.

A few rooftops are still visible, along with hastily constructed dykes which could not hold back the flow of toxic mud that began on May 29 around an oil exploration drilling rig.

Eleven miles of dykes are being built by 1,500 soldiers and labourers around the clock to contain the growing catastrophe, in which 11,000 people have lost their homes or been forced to evacuate.

The company, which is facing daily protests from residents, now accepts its drilling may have caused the world’s largest disaster of its kind.

The Guardian

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