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Jakarta Post

As Merapi rumbles, Yogyakarta youth take comfort in local wisdom

  • Titah AW


Yogyakarta   /   Sun, February 28 2021   /  01:00 am
A photo of the majestic Mount Merapi taken from Ketep, Central Java on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. The Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG) increased the alert status for Mt. Merapi on Nov 5, predicting the volcanic activity might soon lead to an eruption.(JP/Donny Fernando)

For many younger Yogyakartans, Merapi isn't just a mountain. It is an emblem of their staunch devotion to local wisdom, even as the city continues to modernize. As its status was raised from waspada (alert) to siaga (stand by) on Nov. 5, 2020, the city's residents kept a close eye on Merapi, one of the country's most active volcanoes. In January alone, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Geological Agency noted that Merapi had released hot plumes of volcanic material 95 times. On Jan. 27, photos and videos showing a gray cloud over Merapi went viral. The responses of younger Yogyakartans varied from panic to efforts to share helpful information. Those who remained calm relied on long-held local wisdom regarding the mountain. Marten Bayu Aji, an artist who moved from Jepara 10 years ago, believes the "horrific visual" of Merapi's hot clouds...