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


By analyzing the large dataset of anonymized mobile phone usage provided by Türk Telekom within the frame of the Big Data Challenge “Data for Refugees Turkey” the project AROMA_CoDa addresses the topic of onward or “secondary mobility” – that is refugees’ mobility within Turkey after the arrival at a first destination (e.g. refugee camps or smaller cities in Eastern Turkey). While we position the project in the theme of ‘social integration’, refugees’ secondary mobility is a cross-cutting topic directly related to challenges with regard to safety and security, health, education, and unemployment. The project has the following pbjectives:

  1.  Mapping of spatial and temporal patterns of secondary mobility of refugees in Turkey: flows over time, spatial trajectories between most significant points of origin and destination, and identification of key mobility hubs.
  2. Understanding key drivers of spatio-temporal mobility patterns and in particular the impact of conflict dynamics (in Syria) and of fundamental refugee-related political decisions in Turkey and the European Union.
  3. Draw recommendations from the insights of 1. and 2. that are relevant for allocating resources and improving infrastructures for the temporary support and longer term integration of refugees at most significant places along the identified mobility trajectories; and communicate these results in comprehensive ways, e.g. through innovative visualizations.


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.