Disasterreadiness

DRC : 2019 Whakaari / White Island Eruption

The volcanic island Whakaari / White Island in New Zealand’s northeastern Bay of Plenty region explosively erupted on 9 December 2019 at 14:11. There were 47 people on the island at the time. 21 people were killed, including two who are missing and declared dead, and a further twenty-six people suffered injuries, many of whom suffered severe burns. The ongoing seismic and volcanic activity in the area as well as heavy rainfall, low visibility and toxic gases hampered recovery efforts over the week following the incident.

DRC Case Study Learnings (using the 4 R's of Emergency Management):

Reduction:

– Be aware of potential volcanic risks

– Know your warning signals

Readiness:

– Have a Volcanic eruption response plan

– Ensure all windows and doors can close tightly

– Have a grab bag ready with dust masks and eye protection

– Practice evacuation or stay in place plans

– Have a business continuity plan in place

Response:

– Stay indoors

– Close doors and windows

– Protect sensitive equipment from ash

– Listen to radio or TV for instructions

– Do not evacuate unless told to do so

– Put on dust mask and eye protection

Recovery:

– Stay away from from damaged buildings

– Clean away ash from rooftops and down pipes

– Check staff welfare

– Commence business continuity plan