Manam Volcano (Papua New Guinea)
4.10 S, 145.06 E, summit elevation 1807 m, Stratovolcano
Thursday 23rd December 2004
Eruptions continue at Manam volcano with ash to a height of between 15,000 and 30,000 ft. A donation of 24 thousand water purification tablets has been made to the Manam evacuees. People displaced by the eruption are living in temporary shelters, and are at risk of water-borne disease. Relief agencies have not be able to meet the needs of the thousands evacuated from the island. The volcano remains at level 3 alert, and larger eruptions are possible. Report copyright John Seach.
Monday 20th December 2004
The alert level has been increased to 3 (out of 4) at Manam volcano after a large eruption of ash occurred on Sunday 19th December. Ash was calculated to have reached an altitude of 50,000 ft, and drifted 250 nautical miles WSW of Manam. The ash cloud dissipated after about 12 hours. This sequence of events indicates that Manam volcano is still dangerous, and there is a possibility of continued large eruptions which threatens the safety of anyone still on the island. The aviation colour code is red, indicating the volcano is currently erupting. Report copyright John Seach.
Eruptions are continuing at Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea. Today, ash emissions reached 20,000 ft and were visible on satellite images 50 nautical miles to the west of the island. The volcano remains at stage 2 alert (out of 4 levels). The aviation colour code is red. Manam is the most active volcano in PNG. Frequent eruptions have been reported since 1616. A series of large eruptions beginning in October 2004 forced the population to relocate to the mainland.
Thursday 16th December 2004
Moderate eruptions continue at Manam volcano today. An ash cloud reached 20,000 ft and drifted west at speed of 8 knots. Ongoing eruptions continue to deposit large amounts of ash on the island. The summit region of the volcano was already steep and bare before the current series of eruptions. Heavy ashfall, lava flows, and scoria deposits from the current eruption will make the summit region dangerously unstable for an extended period of time.
Thursday 16th December 2004
Strong eruptions continue at Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea. At 5:44 am today (local time) there was an ash plume visible on satellite photos stretching 100 nautical miles WNW of the volcano. The ash reached 15,000 ft elevation and drifted at a rate of 10 knots. There has been some debate over whether the people of Manam needed to be evacuated. This uninformed debate doesn’t help the situation. The situation is quite clear. There is no food left on the island to support the population.
People cannot survive there under the current situation. There is over 1 metre depth of ash deposited on the island. This ash combined with heavy rains is producing dangerous mudflows. Mudflows have already washed 6 people into the sea. The volcanic activity is extremely dangerous, and has already resulted in some deaths before the evacuations took place. The role of the volcanologist is not to predict whether Manam will have larger eruptions or not. The main role in this situation is to foresee hazardous events.
The whole Island is at risk of life threatening hazardous events, therefore evacuation of the island was justified. It is to be hoped that volcanic activity will decline over time, and the people can return to at least a partial resettlement of the island. The best case scenario might not be possible for up to 2 years due to the destruction of food gardens. There is also a less encouraging possibility, that Manam volcano has entered a period of much more dangerous activity, and return to the island will be not be possible for an extended period.
One thing is certain, the evacuation of the Manam population has removed a large number of people from an extremely hazardous situation. After all, saving lives is the number one priority. Let’s hope that the humanitarian relief can now deal with the situation. It would be distressing to think that deaths will occur on the mainland in the evacuation camps due to hunger and disease. More still needs to be done to ease the situation at the camps. This report is copyright John Seach.
Monday 13th December 2004
Manam volcano continues to erupt with an ash cloud to 15,000 ft altitude. The aviation alert level has been upgraded to red, which means an eruption is in progress. Stronger eruptions are possible. A hotspot was visible on satellite images, indicating the proximity of magma to the surface.
Soputan Volcano (Indonesia)
1.11 N, 124.73 E, summit elevation 1784 m, stratovolcano
Monday 13th December 2004
Soputan volcano erupted at 5 am Sunday 12th December. The eruption sent high level ash NW to an altitude of 35,000 ft. A lower level ash cloud drifted NE. The nearby town of Tomohon, 10 kilometers northeast of Soputan, was covered in a thin layer of ash.
4.10 S, 145.06 E, summit elevation 1807 m, Stratovolcano
Sunday 12th December 2004
The face of disaster – photos from Manam Island…
The eruptions at Manam Island have been occurring from the Main Crater. The South Crater has been emitting large amounts of steam, but has not shown high levels of activity. Volcanic activity at Manam has been centered at Southern Crater for the past 12 years. The 2004 eruptions mark a return to the paroxysmal eruptions last seen at Main Crater in 1992.
The volcano is still erupting with ash emissions and the possibility of larger eruptions. The situation of the evacuees at the mainland camps will be made easier if international assistance is given. The people at the evacuation camps are removed from volcanic danger, but they face the risk of health problems. Some health risks are malaria, cough, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and ear and eye infections from the volcanic ash.
Respiratory problems were noticed by John Seach during a visit to the evacuation camps. Medical supplies are limited in the Bogia district, and people have little ability to pay for medical treatment. Some international assistance of blankets was inappropriately given. The area is only 4 degrees from the equator, so hypothermia is not a problem. Food, water, shelter and medicine are the immediate priorities.
The international community has been caught sleeping when it comes to this disaster. Report copyright John Seach.
Saturday 11th December 2004
Eruptions continue at Manam volcano. Manam volcano is in stage 2 alert (out of 4). Aviation colour code has been reduced to “orange”, which means that a volcanic eruption is in progress but ash emissions are below 25,000 ft elevation. Larger eruptions are possible. Report copyright John Seach.
Friday 10th December 2004
Manam disaster situation.
Volcanic disasters of this magnitude only occur in the world every few years. Manam volcano is located in a remote part of the world for most donor countries. The island is about 250 km from the nearest phone, and visitors rarely travel to the area. The author of this website was the first volcanologist on the scene, and has been trying to bring it to the attention of the world’s media.
The humanitarian situation for the Manam people doesn’t look good unless some outside assistance is received. A few days ago I visited an evacuation camp for victims of the 1996 pyroclastic flows which killed 13 people. Eight years later the evacuees children have still not been to school due to the poverty associated with the loss of houses, crops, and no chance to generate income. The future of 9600 people from the current disaster looks equally poor.
Volcanic crisis management needs to have an international focus. Academic study of volcanic eruptions is useless unless the humanitarian assistance matches the eruption crisis. Update on volcanic activity – Thousands of people are still standing on beaches on the island, waiting for rescue. The volcano continues to erupt, covering the island with ash, and mud flows continue to put lives at risk. Report copyright John Seach.
Thursday 9th December 2004
Evacuation people from Manam Island continues due to ongoing volcanic activity. The evacuation began last week and is expected to take 2 weeks. About 4000 people still on the island waiting for rescue are in critical need of food and water.
The international response has been totally inadequate for a disaster of this magnitude. Once the island is evacuated, the emergency response will shift to the mainland, where three evacuee camps have been set up. The local authorities on the mainland are struggling to cope with an estimated 9000 evacuees in an area with a total population of only 40,000.
A lack of clean water, sanitation, food and shelter is posing ongoing problems at the camps. There is a high risk of disease affecting the evacuees in the three camps, who face an extended period of relocation. The people of Manam Island have lost their homes, gardens and income, and face an extended period of poverty. The volcano continues to erupt, sending ash to an altitude of 15,000 ft. Aviation code is red, indicating a hazard to aircraft. Last week a helicopter suffered a cracked windscreen when it flew into ash from the volcano. Report copyright John Seach.
Wednesday 8th December 2004
It is disappointing that the international community has not taken the Manam volcano disaster more seriously. An event of this magnitude is too large for any one country to deal with. Urgent food supplies are needed to feed the thousands of people evacuated to the mainland. Gardens and trees have been destroyed in the eruptions, and people will not be able to return to the island for some considerable time, assuming that volcanic activity declines to a safe level.
Monitoring equipment needs to be installed on the island to enable scientific study of the volcanic activity. Manam continues its high level of eruptive activity. Heavy rains from the start of the wet season are creating mud flows. The international community needs to start taking action to prevent further loss of life. The author of this website has been on the island to witness the situation, and has been asked by the evacuees to appeal for international assistance. Report copyright John Seach.
Tuesday 7th December 2004
Eruptions continue at Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea. Five people are confirmed dead, and 9300 people are being evacuated from the island. The refugees are being relocated to three relief centres on the mainland. International assistance is being requested by local authorities to deal with the situation. Thousands of people are still on the island waiting to be evacuated. Food, shelter, and water are scarce in the relief centres. Manam is one of the most active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea. Report copyright John Seach.
I tried to find his e-mail to ask him about things and for permission to post but all i have is his twitter account I don’t have mine but this may go there I think (automagically?)
And now the peace of resistance:
Great Earthquake (Indonesia) – Magnitude 9.3
Friday 31st December 2004
Earthquake and tsunami toll exceeds 120,000.
Indonesia 79,940 deaths, 1 to 3 million affected.
Sri Lanka 24,673 deaths, 6,589 missing, 888,000 displaced, 12,482 injured, 1.5 million affected.
India 10,850 deaths.
Thailand 2,000 deaths, 3,000 injured.
Somalia 120 deaths, 50,000 displaced.
Burma (Myanmar) 90 deaths.
Malaysia 65 deaths, 50 missing, 100 injured, 8,000 displaced.
Maldives 54 deaths, 61 missing, approximately 223,957 affected.
Tanzania 10 deaths.
Bangladesh 2 deaths.
Seychelles 1 death.
Kenya 1 death.