LUSI, an abbreviation for Lumpur Sidoarjo, is a mud volcano that started to erupt near the town of Porong, a subdistrict of Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia on May 29th 2006. Locals also refer to the volcano as Lumpur Lapindo ; Lumpur meaning mud and PT Lapindo Brantas being the name of the company that caused the eruption through haphazard gas exploration drilling practices.
Both the government and Lapindo Brantas blamed the eruption on an earthquake which struck the area around Yogjakarta, some 300km away, a few days before 29th May, but international experts and scientist have discredited this theory and established that the eruption was most certainly triggered by Lapindo’s gas exploration well. Incidentally PT Lapindo Brantas is part of the Bakrie & Brothers conglomerate whose owner, Aburizal Bakrie, is one of Indonesia’s wealthiest businessmen, who was Co-ordinating Minister for People’s Welfare at the time of the eruption and who became chairman of the powerful Golkar party in 2009.
Four years after the accident, LUSI is still spewing toxic mud into the area surrounding Porong. To-date the volcano has killed 13 people, wiped out a dozen villages and displaced over 40,000 people who lost both homes and their livelihoods. All attempts to stem the mudflow have failed, including the construction of levees, dams and drainage pipelines & pumps, even plugging the crater with massive concrete balls. Most tragically however, compensation for the displaced victims has at best been very slow and insufficient.
International scientists believe LUSI could continue to erupt for decades to come.