Indonesia is located between the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian tectonic plates. This region is known as the ‘ring of fire’, and is regularly affected by natural disasters which include frequent occurrence of earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tsunamis. Indonesia has approximately 130 active volcanoes, the tsunami threat is constant and earthquakes with a magnitude of around five or six on the scale of Richter happen almost on a daily basis. Yet the Ring of Fire does not only bring death and destruction. Farmers move next to volcanoes because the soil is specially fertile due to the volcano-ashes and the material of the eruptions is sold as high-quality building material. There are tons of tourists waiting in jeeps on the volcanoes or lying with all-inclusive cocktails in the sun on tsunami-endangered beaches. Some are highly attracted by volcanoes and come to see ongoing eruptions.
On the other hand, visitors value the feeling that everything is well prepared for an emergency. In some places there are so-called tsunami warning buttons with which the hotel staff can trigger an alarm. There are also shamans. In some places their word means more than the data of the scientists. Their attempt to empirically track down the forces of nature with sensors, seismographs, and international research teams is the opposite of the traditional view of blaming human sins and not the unfavorable geographic location for the forces of nature.
Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Java and has persistent minor eruptions, but according to volcanologists Mount Merapi is heavily overdue a large-scale eruption which could potentially put over 1.1 million people at risk.
Two japanese tourists in Bali. The stones in the back were placed there as wave-breakers.
Noer Cholik, in the vulcanology center in Yogyakarta.
A young man, paralyzed by the big earthquake in the Jogjakarta area.
The Shaman of Banaran Keningar, one of the highest towns on Mount-Merapi. In case of an upcoming eruption many villagers rather listen to the advice of a Shaman than to the official authorities.
Tsunami-Alarm tower in Bali.