Archipelago

Merapi eruption halts social,
economic activities in
Kebumen

After a series of rain of ashes from the erupting Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta pouring their city in the past three days, residents of Kebumen, Central Java, said they had seen their regular social and economic activities affected by the incident.

Dalyunani, 66, who lives nearby Karanganyar railway station, said she had found only several stalls operating in the Karanganyar wet market since Friday after most vendors in the market had chosen to stay at home following the first heavy rain of ashes the day before.

"It makes the price of many vegetables, like potatoes and water spinach, have increased by double," she told The Jakarta Post Saturday.

Umi, a water spinach farmer from Sruweng district, said she could not sell her product to the market since Thursday after her water spinach field had been covered by volcanic ashes.

"There is no chance I can supply water spinach again until the [Merapi] eruption fully ended," the mother of six said.

Both Umi and Dalyunani said they had also warned their family members to wear mask every time they went for outdoor activities.

Located 120 kilometers away west of Yogyakarta, Kebumen has found most buildings, vehicles, trees and streets in its area covered by a thin layer of volcanic ashes.

Some students met by the Post on Saturday morning said their school had asked them to return home, saying that the teaching activities would be resumed until the situation "get better."

"But no teacher could say when exactly we could go to school again," said Bahtiar, an 8th grader in SMP 4 Kebumen State Junior High School.

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