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Volcanic Eruption: Mount Pinatubo Case Study

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2019

Mount Pinatubo is said to have the largest eruption in the 1990’s. It is situated on the Philippine Island of Luzon. When it erupted, the volcano killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands. It also destroyed properties and crops that belonged to the people living around the mountain. Seismic experts from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology had predicted its eruption in April 1991.

The experts declared that the people living around the mountain were in danger and needed to be evacuated from the area. Evacuation started from the people living along the slopes of the mountain. They were followed by people living in the near lowlands of the mountain (Charles, 1996).

The prediction of the eruption had been a success since they were able to evacuate the people around the mountain in good time. But they failed since they were not able to predict the coming of a storm that caused heavy rainfall.

Had the experts predicted the storm, the whole Island could have been evacuated (Richard, V.F., and Grant, H., 1998). The lowland areas were not safe since the steaming mudflow found its way to the lowlands destroying properties, crops, killing people and animals.

USAID came to their rescue and donated plastic materials that were used as temporary houses. There were also some donations of money that was used to fund the rehabilitation projects (Richard, V.F., and Grant, H., 1998). The victims faced a lot of challenges due to mismanagement of resources, thus making the campus to have inadequate facilities.

There was an outbreak of diseases and children suffered. Sources provide that these days, most of the victims of Pinatubo eruption are still in camps due to lack of sufficient donors, USAID being their main donor (Cashman, K. V., and Cronin, S. J., 2008).

Evacuation is one of the techniques used when there in a volcanic disaster. Before evacuation takes place, some measures need to be taken into consideration. For example, the affected people should have knowledge of where they are going to take refuge. Secondly, they should have an idea of the important things to carry. For instance, if one has pets, he should know where to keep them safe (Charles, 1996).

The victims should also have the emergency kits just in case of any injuries. Also the victim should have a proper method to communicate with his family in case of any separation when evacuation is taking place. During the evacuation, the victims should be well instructed on the measures to take in order to avoid confusion that can cause panic.

Crowd control is another technique used during the volcanic disaster. Crowd control is enhanced in so many ways. First, the victims need to be made aware of the likely disaster they may face (Haraldur, 1999). That is to prepare them psychologically.

A warning should also be given in good time to allow room for suggestions and solutions to their problems. By doing that, you would have managed to control the crowd. Lastly, the affected crowd should be made aware of the challenges they are likely to face and encourage them to stick together. That would discourage people from branching to different directions.

Evacuation and crowd control techniques are done in steps. The steps help to have a more organized procedure to evacuate and control the crowd. The techniques should have been employed in the Philippine Island of Luzon in a more organized manner.

First, enough research should have been done on the eruption and the possible storm to avoid surprises. After the research is done, the people involved should have been given enough information. That would have prevented people from dying. Evacuation should have been done completely from the Island. The mistake came in when the seismic experts allowed the people to settle in the lowlands (Charles, 1996).

The victims should have been given transport assistance in order to have a faster evacuation process. Evacuation should also have been funded from the public funds to facilitate complete evacuation by mid-May. By doing that all the people would have accepted to vacate the Island hence saving lives in the process.


Cashman, K. V., and Cronin, S. J. (2008). Welcoming a monster to the world: Myths, oral tradition, and modern societal response to volcanic disasters. Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research, 176(3), 407-418. Retrieved from EBSCO. (doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.01.040)

Charles, F.(1996).Volcanoes of the solar system.United Kingdom.Cambridge University.

Haraldur, S. (1999). Melting the Earth. London: Oxford University.

Richard, V.F., and Grant, H. (1998). Crucibles of change. New York. Princeton University.

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