Staying afloat via mud tourism

For 11 years, no one has been able to stem the flow of hot mud in Indonesia.

A mud volcano that erupted in Sidoarjo, East Java, in 2006 and swallowed entire villages is still oozing its all-consuming sludge, but for some entrepreneurial locals, one of the country's worst environmental disasters has provided an unlikely business opportunity.

"Mud tourism" is booming as visitors flock to see rooftops poking above the bubbling lake and life-size statues made of mud - a symbol of the human toll of the disaster that left 40,000 people homeless.

"This is the only way to earn a living and afford school for my kids," Harwati, a villager living nearby, said last year.

"After my village was flooded, there were no jobs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Staying afloat via mud tourism'. Print Edition | Subscribe