Volcanic eruptions

A volcano is an opening in the earth’s surface that allows magma (hot liquid and semi-liquid rock), volcanic ash and gases to escape. They are generally found where tectonic plates come together or separate, but they can also occur in the middle of plates due to volcanic hotspots. A volcanic eruption is when gas and/or lava are released from a volcano—sometimes explosively. Volcanoes provide a number of environmental benefits, for example: fertile soils, hydrothermal energy, and precious minerals. But they also pose several hazards: volcanic ash, gases, lahars (mud flows), landslides, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows (fast-moving currents of hot gas). Volcanic eruptions can be deadly and often cause population displacement and food shortages. 

Mount Merapi volcano in Yogyakarta, Indonesia erupts in 2006

Emergency appeals

Do you know how to prepare for a volcanic eruption?

Do's and don'ts

  • Learn and look out for volcano risks and warning signs
  • Become familiar with volcano hazard map and danger zones
  • Learn and participate in early warning systems
  • Be aware of secondary risks such as landslides and flash floods
  • Avoid driving during and after ash fall
  • Support vulnerable people to evacuate or shelter in place safely
  • Store clean water and food
  • Protect your eyes and lungs with goggles and masks
  • Prepare and practice evacuating or sheltering in place

Watch: how to prepare for a volcanic eruption