Artwork by the Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto. It consists of 110 statues of two meters height and was installed in the mud volcano crater in 2014 (Source: G. Stange, 2017)

Life after mud – Livelihood transformation and resilience in disaster affected relocated communities in Sidoarjo, Indonesia

Project Leader: Gunnar Stange (IfGR, University of Vienna)
Research Collaborator: Bambang Hudayana and Anton Novenanto (Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada)

Laufzeit: 2017 – 2018

Co-funded by ASEA-UNINET


On 29 May, 2006, a mud volcano erupted in Sidoarjo Regency, East Java, Indonesia. Since that day, it scores the highest eruption rate for a mud-volcano on earth, up to 180,000 cubic meter per day. It is estimated that up until today between 80,000 and 150,000 affected population had to resettle from the affected area. Part of the affected population relocated to an existing housing complex ("cash and resettlement group") and others resettled in groups to different villages in the regency ("cash and carry group"). A quantitative livelihood survey was carried out in situ in September, 2017, among the affected population. The research aimed at understanding how the relocated communities were able to recover from the loss of their livelihoods and whether or not they have been able to increase their resilience against social and environmental risks after relocation. In a more specific sense, the research aimed at understanding whether or not and in how far the two different modes of relocation may have impacted the livelihood rehabilitation process.

Preliminary Results

The preliminary analysis of the survey data suggests both groups under scrutiny, thus far, were not able to fully recover from their loss of livelihood. As the research area is largely dominated by industries and services, the loss of employment opportunities as a result of the destruction of several factories has a strong impact on the livelihood recovery of the affected communities. In regard to the comparison of the two relocation modes and their impact on livelihood recovery, preliminary data analysis suggests that the "cash and resettlement group" is largely less content with their living conditions in the gated community as compared to the "cash and carry group" that generally has a more optimistic perspective on their living conditions. This can largely be explained by the fact that the "cash and resettlement group" accepted ready-made housing in an existing environment. Thus, as compared to the "cash and carry group", the "cash and resettlement group" was not able to select their new place of living based on decision criteria such as distance to work place, public service facilities, family, and the like.