Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gamalama Eruption Leaves Bitter Taste, Dead Crops in Spice Islands, Indonesia - 27th Dec 2011

Mount Gamalama spews thick ashes and gas as seen from Ternate, Indonesia, on Dec. 5. The mud and ash left from the explosion have decimated local farmers' crops, leaving many with little hope of making ends meet.

Muhammad Kasim, a 35-year-old clove farmer, has had to delay his plan to go on the Hajj pilgrimage next year because of damage to his crops on the slopes of Mount Gamalama following an eruption earlier this month.

The clove fields surrounding Moya subdistrict in Ternate, North Maluku, have been blanketed in volcanic ash since the Dec. 5 eruption.

“The crops are damaged and the harvest this year will not bring in anything significant,” Kasim said.

He said he had been counting on receiving Rp 70 million ($7,705) for his crops, Rp 32 million of which he would have set aside to fund his pilgrimage.

Kasim, however, can count himself more fortunate than many of his neighbors, as he also runs a small store close to his home that brings him Rp 2 million a month.

Kirman, a nutmeg farmer, said he had initially planned on using the proceeds from the harvest to build a house, but the eruption has put an end to such prospects.

The volcanic ash has destroyed most of his mangosteen and durian crops as well.

“I don’t know how I’ll make ends meet,” he said. “I don’t have any other source of income.” Read More