Killing The Future: Asbestos Use In Asia

Indonesian Earthquake 2005

Asbestos Experience of Asian Countries

The earthquake which hit the Indonesian provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on May 27, 2005 measured 5.9 on the Richter scale. It lasted just 57 seconds, killed over 5,700 and injured 47,000; more than 500,000 homes were destroyed or damaged.78 According to Dave Hodgkin the Shelter Cluster Coordinator and Technical Advisor from UN Yogya/Central Java Earthquake Response:

"In Jogya, cleanup operations were largely community driven, with Gotong Royang (community working bee) groups chipping in, to sweep up, and remove much of the rubble. Almost uniformly no attention was paid to the risks posed by rubble removal. Low lying land, roadsides, rice paddies and rivers, were all used as dumping sites for the billions of tonnes of waste created by the minute long quake.

Families scrounged through rubble, dusting off bricks, timbers, steel, windows, doors, roof tiles, asbestos sheet and anything else with same possibility for reuse. Rubble crushers, backhoes, bulldozers and raw human labor set to work, cleaning up debris and reusing whatever possible as road base, foundation fill ets; all with little or no need to dust for months after the earthquake.

As in Aceh, aware members of the emergency shelter cluster applied some of their overstretched resources (both time and funds) to produce public outreach documents to encourage safe handling of asbestos waste and to discourage its further purchase.

In both cases, efforts were often hampered by multiple factors including the scale of the disasters. With over 800 affected villages in the Java earthquake, comprising something in the order of 8,000 individual hamlets, and mixed literacy levels as well as varying levels of media access, public outreach is a massive task."79

Notes

78. See.
79. Email from Dave Hodgkins to Laurie Kazan-Allen. March 1, 2007.

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