Residents of Kokopo in Papua New Guinea evacuated their homes as the volatile Ulawun volcano erupted on October 1. The residents had recently returned to their abode after they had to evacuate in June as lava and ash shot up from Mount Ulawun. The highest mountain in the Bismarck Archipelago sent a column of red lava up into the sky on Tuesday. According to Rabaul Volcano Observatory, the seismic activity started on Monday afternoon leading to eruption at around 4.30 am the next day.
While the majority of the people affected by the previous volcanic eruption remained at evacuation centres, people who had returned to tend to their homes were evacuated again. In June this year, Prime Minister of Indonesia had ordered military despatch to assess the situation and assist in the ground. According to media reports, as many as 13,000 people were displaced due to the massive eruption while around 1,000 people lost their homes to it.
The previous evacuation saw many difficulties as the nearest airport was covered with around 3 centimeters of ash. The lava had also cut-off the main highway in the north which created further problem during evacuation. Despite being listed as one of the 16 ‘Decade Volcanoes’, thousands of people have been living in its shadow. The high-ash content can cause serious breathing problems, eye and skin irritation.
The ‘Decade Volcanoes’ list, identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI), made for research purpose as they are volatile and known for violent eruptions. The aim of the program is to reduce the severity of natural disasters by achieving a better understanding of the volcanoes and the dangers they possess. Avachinsky-Koryaksky, Colima, Galeras, Mauna Loa, Mount Etna, Mount Merapi, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Rainier, Mount Vesuvius, Mount Unzen, Sakurajima, Santa María, Santorini, Taal Volcano, Teide, and Ulawun are the sixteen Decade Volcanoes. It has achieved a number of successes since its inception in mitigating disasters.