Volcano Eruption Fatalities - John Seach

Volcanic eruptions are not the most dangerous of natural disasters. They cause less fatalities than earthquakes, hurricanes and famines.

In the past 200 years, there have been over 200,000 deaths in volcanic eruptions. Four causes resulted in 91% of the fatalities -
famine and epidemic disease (30%), pyroclastic flows (27%), lahars (17%), and tsunamis (17%).

The list below is not comprehensive, but gives an indication of some events.

Fatalities

Volcano

Location

Year

92 000

Tambora

Indonesia

1815

36 000

Krakatau

Indonesia

1883

29 000

Mt Pelee

Martinique

1902

28 000

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

1985

15 000

Unzen

Japan

1792

10 000

Laki

Iceland

1783

10 000

Kelut

Indonesia

1586

6 000

Santa Maria

Guatemala

1902

5100

Kelut

Indonesia

1919

5000

Santiaguito

Guatemala

1929

4000

Galunggung

Indonesia

1822

4000

Vesuvius

Italy

1631

3500

Vesuvius

Italy

79 AD

3500

El Chichón

Mexico

1982

3200

Awu

Indonesia

1711

3000

Merapi

Indonesia

1672

2951

Papandayan

Indonesia

1772

2900

Lamington

PNG

1951

2806

Awu

Indonesia

1856

2000

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1977

1700

Nyos

Cameroon

1986

1500 +

Vesuvius

Italy

79 AD

1500

La Soufrière

Saint Vincent

1902

1500

La Soufrière

Saint Vincent

1902

1500

Awu

Indonesia

1892

1480

Oshima-Oshima

Japan

1741

1330

Taal

Philippines

1911

1300

Merapi

Indonesia

1930

1200

Mayon

Philippines

1814

1200

Asama

Japan

1783

1100

Agung

Indonesia

1963

1000

Raung

Indonesia

1638

1000

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

1845

960

Awu

Indonesia

1812

800

Cotopaxi

Ecuador

1742

740

Pinatubo

Philippines

1991

500

Iliwerung

Indonesia

1979

500

Rabaul

PNG

1938

500

Hibok-Hibok

Philippines

1951

460

Bandai-san

Japan

1888

400

Vesuvius

Italy

1794

400

Cotopaxi

Ecuador

1877

350

Vesuvius

Italy

1906

324

Merapi

Indonesia

2010

265

Semeru

Indonesia

1965

253

Semeru

Indonesia

1981

212

Kelut

Indonesia

1966

200

Oraefajokull

Iceland

1362

160

Paluweh

Indonesia

1928

153

Tarawera

New Zealand

1886

151

Ruapehu

New Zealand

1953

149

Dieng

Indonesia

1979

147

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

2002

144

Tokachi

Japan

1926

120

Santorini

Greece

1650

106

Dubbi

Eritrea

1861

100

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1977

80

Kilauea

Hawaii

1790

78

Arenal

Costa Rica

1968

75

Mayon

Philippines

1993

64

Merapi

Indonesia

1994

63

Taupo

New Zealand

1846

60

Merapi

Indonesia

1979

60

Pinatubo

Philippines

1992

57

Mt St Helens

USA

1980

56

Mt Etna

Italy

1843

50

Dama Ali

Ethiopia

1631

48

Ontake

Japan

2014

48

Santorini

Greece

1926

43

Unzen

Japan

1991

40

Mt Etna

Italy

141 BC

40

Mayon

Philippines

1981

37

Lake Monoun

Cameroon

1984

35

Kelut

Indonesia

1990

34

Merapi

Indonesia

2010

33

Santa Maria

Guatemala

1990

31

Toliman

Guatemala

2002

30

Rinjani

Indonesia

1994

27

Vesuvius

Italy

1944

27

Galunggung

Indonesia

1982

26

Apaneca

El Salvador

1990

24

Campi Flegri

Italy

1538

23

Mt Cameroon

Cameroon

2001

20

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1912

20

Sabancaya

Peru

1991

20

Vesuvius

Italy

1872

19

Soufriere Hills

Montserrat

1997

17

Karthala

Comoros

1903

13

Manam

PNG

1996

11

White Island

New Zealand

1914

10

Nevado del Huila

Colombia

2008

9

Vesuvius

Italy

1872

9

Mt Etna

Italy

1979

6

Maderas

Nicaragua

1996

6

Semeru

Indonesia

1994

5

Mt Etna

Italy

1928

5

Popocatepetl

Mexico

1996

4

Tarawera

New Zealand

1903

4

Stromboli

Italy

1930

4

Stromboli

Italy

1919

4

Vesuvius

Italy

1805

4

Vesuvius

Italy

1682

4

Adatara

Japan

1997

3

Kanlaon

Philippines

1996

3

Piton de la Fournaise

Reunion

1972

3

Campi Flegri

Italy

1970

3

Aso

Japan

1979

3

Kusatu-Shirane

Japan

1976

3

Usu

Japan

1977

3

Paricutin

Mexico

1943

2

Tarawera

New Zealand

1917

2

Vesuvius

Italy

1737

2

Sangay

Ecuador

1976

2

Karkar

PNG

1979

2

Merapi

Indonesia

2001

2

Mt Etna

Italy

1987

2

Semeru

Indonesia

2000

2

Aso

Japan

1997

2

Yasur

Vanuatu

1994

2

Guagua Pichincha

Ecuador

1993

2

Kilauea

Hawaii

1975

2

Kilauea

Hawaii

2001

2

Mt Etna

Italy

1929

1

Taupo

New Zealand

1910

1

Karthala

Comoros

1904

1

Vesuvius

Italy

1905

1

Kilauea

Hawaii

1924

1

Karangetang

Indonesia

1976

1

Santa Maria

Guatemala

1978

1

Semeru

Indonesia

1981

1

Stromboli

Italy

1986

1

Dieng

Indonesia

1992

1

Marapi

Indonesia

1992

1

Krakatau

Indonesia

1993

1

Kilauea

Hawaii

1993

1

Unzen

Japan

1993

1

Yasur

Vanuatu

1995

1

Semeru

Indonesia

1997

1

Stromboli

Italy

1986

1

Stromboli

Italy

2001

1

Mt Etna

Italy

1536

1

Mt Etna

Italy

2001

1

Raoul

Kermadec Is

2006


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The number of fatalities on a volcano does not only depend upon the size of the eruption. The great eruption of Mt Etna in 1669 destroyed the city of Catania but no one was killed. In contrast a single lahar from melting snow killed 28 000 at Nevado del Ruiz even when the event was correctly forecast. Timely and credible information to the public helps save lives.
The most important role for volcanologists is not to predict eruptions but to foresee catastrophic events.

Eruption Injuries without Deaths

Injuries

Volcano

Country

Year

12

Pacaya

Guatemala

1986

6

Sakura-jima

Japan

1986



 

 


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