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Raising Awareness on Volcanic Hazards

What should you do in case of volcano's eruption?

The volcanic Harrats are spread in the eastern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, covering an area of 112,000 square kilometers. This area is considered one of the largest basalt areas in the world, when it comes to areal cover. Volcanic eruptions occur intermittently. The occurrences of volcanic eruptions in the Arabian Peninsula can be describe as occasional, compared to their frequencies in the southeast Asian region and in the western regions of the Americas. Modern volcanic Harrats in the Arabian Peninsula are classified as active, such as the Harrat Rahat (Madina), Harrat Al-Shaqa (Madina and Tabuk), Harrat Khaybar (Madina), Harrat Al Ethnayn (Madina and Ha'il), Harrat Hotayma (Ha'il), and Harrat Awayrad (Tabuk).

Volcanic eruptions are often preceded by seismic activities for a period of several days or weeks. So, everyone should be fully prepared for this. Activities may last for several months before the eruption. If you get a warning from the SGS, the authority responsible for monitoring such activities, you must hurry up to leave the volcanic area.

  • Make sure that every member of your family has the necessary knowledge about the hazards of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and is aware of his/her role, when any seismic or volcanic activity occurs.
  • Be calm and behave wisely, so as not to endanger yourself. Carefully follow the instructions of the Civil Defense and other relevant authorities when evacuating the area.
  • Keep your important and valuable documents in a secure and known place in order to be able to reach them easily in case you are obliged to leave your house immediately.

What should you do during a volcanic eruption?

  • Hurry up to evacuate from the area and do not postpone it, because the lavas, volcanic ashes, and mud flows may hinder your ease of passing along pathways and roads in the area. So, early evacuation is a must.
  • Attention must be paid to low areas, because volcanic lavas and mud flows move towards low slopes during volcanic eruptions based on the topography of the area, and because heavy rains may occur that may trigger mudflows.
  • Avoid areas where volcanic ashes are blown into, and you must use face masks in order to help you breathe, when you are exposed to volcanic ashes or dusts.
  • If you are away from the volcanic lavas, but still in an area exposed to volcanic ashes, you must stay at home, close the doors and windows, and remove the accumulated ashes on the roofs.
  • Avoid driving your cars and operating engines, because volcanic ashes may damage the engines. Aftershocks may also occur and will affect the traffic.
  • Avoid using eye lenses, as the volcanic ashes may cause damage to your eyes. So, use protective glasses instead.

What should you do after a volcanic eruption?

  • Follow the instructions of the Civil Defense and other relevant governmental authorities before going back to your house. As the flow of lavas may continue for weeks or months, returning back home early may endanger you.
  • Go away from the volcanic lavas, as they may sustain their high temperature for a long time.
  • Avoid being exposed to the volcanic ashes and dusts because they may cause health problems in breathing, especially in children.
  • Check for the occurrence of domestic damages after earthquakes accompanied by volcanic eruption.