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Concept: Mount Merapi


The Mount Merapi volcanic eruption in October 2010 was one of Indonesia’s largest and most recent natural disasters. A cross-sectional study was undertaken to measure the psychosocial impact of the eruption on survivors in two locations in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia. The Impact of Event Scale Revised was used to assess participants' symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder responses and demographic characteristics were compared in both locations by conducting bivariate analysis using Mann-Whitney and t tests. The relative contributions of demographic variables and psychosocial impact were examined using multiple linear regression analyses. Two years after the eruption, survivors from the area closest to the eruption had significantly higher Impact of Event Scale Revised scores than those in the comparison area. In particular, females, adults between the ages of 18 and 59, and people who owned their own home experienced the highest levels of psychosocial impact. Nurses and other health professionals need to be aware of the impact of natural disasters on survivors and develop interventions to help people adjust to the psychosocial impact of these events.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Volcano, Central Java, Pacific Ring of Fire, Decade Volcanoes, Lava dome, Mount Merapi


This study of burns patients from two eruptions of Merapi volcano, Java, in 1994 and 2010, is the first detailed analysis to be reported of thermal injuries in a large series of hospitalised victims of pyroclastic surges, one of the most devastating phenomena in explosive eruptions. Emergency planners in volcanic crises in populated areas have to integrate the health sector into disaster management and be aware of the nature of the surge impacts and the types of burns victims to be expected in a worst scenario, potentially in numbers and in severity that would overwhelm normal treatment facilities. In our series, 106 patients from the two eruptions were treated in the same major hospital in Yogyakarta and a third of these survived. Seventy-eight per cent were admitted with over 40% TBSA (total body surface area) burns and around 80% of patients were suspected of having at least some degree of inhalation injury as well. Thirty five patients suffered over 80% TBSA burns and only one of these survived. Crucially, 45% of patients were in the 40-79% TBSA range, with most suspected of suffering from inhalation injury, for whom survival was most dependent on the hospital treatment they received. After reviewing the evidence from recent major eruptions and outlining the thermal hazards of surges, we relate the type and severity of the injuries of these patients to the temperatures and dynamics of the pyroclastic surges, as derived from the environmental impacts and associated eruption processes evaluated in our field surveys and interviews conducted by our multi-disciplinary team. Effective warnings, adequate evacuation measures, and political will are all essential in volcanic crises in populated areas to prevent future catastrophes on this scale.

Concepts: Hospital, Hazard, Volcano, Central Java, Pacific Ring of Fire, Decade Volcanoes, Lava dome, Mount Merapi


Mount Merapi in Indonesia is the most active volcano in the world with its 4-6-year eruption cycle. The mountain and surrounding areas are populated by hundreds of thousands of people who live near the volcano despite the danger posed to their wellbeing. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experience of people who survived the most recent eruption of Mount Merapi, which took place in 2010. Investigators conducted interviews with 20 participants to generate textual data that were coded and themed. Three themes linked to the phenomenological existential experience (temporality and relationality) of living through a volcanic eruption emerged from the data. These themes were: connectivity, disconnection and reconnection. Results indicate that the close relationship individuals have with Mount Merapi and others in their neighbourhood outweighs the risk of living in the shadow of an active volcano. This is the first study to analyze the phenomenological existential elements of living through a volcanic eruption.

Concepts: Earth, Volcano, Pacific Ring of Fire, Decade Volcanoes, Lava dome, Mount Merapi, Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field


The Mt Merapi volcanic eruption in October 2010 claimed more than 386 lives, injured thousands of survivors, and devastated the surrounding environment. No instrument was available in Indonesia to assess the psychosocial impact on survivors of environmental degradation caused by such natural disasters. We developed, translated, and tested an Indonesian version of the Environmental Distress Scale (EDS) for use as a tool to reliably measure environmental distress related to environmental damage in Indonesia.

Concepts: Assessment, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Environmental science, Volcano, Psychological testing, Lava dome, Mount Merapi


The eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano in 2010 caused extensive environmental degradation. Settlements and hundreds of hectares of farmlands were buried under volcanic ash. Until now, there has been no research on the psychosocial impact of living in an environment damaged by a volcanic eruption. We studied and compared the psychosocial impact of environmental damage on volcano survivors from two subdistricts-Cangkringan and Pakem. Cangkringan survivors affected by the 2010 eruption continue to live in a damaged environment. The Pakem subdistrict was damaged by eruptions of Mt Merapi in the 1990s but there is no recent damage to their environment. The Indonesian-Environmental Distress Scale (I-EDS), a translated revision of the original Environmental Distress Scale (EDS), was used to collect data. Exploratory statistical methods and multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to examine the relative contributions of demographic variables on the psychosocial impact of living in an environment damaged by volcanic eruption. A total of 348 survivors of the Mt Merapi eruption participated in the survey. The mean I-EDS score for Cangkringan district was 15.8 (SD 1.6; range 11.8-19.8) compared to 14.6 (SD 1.3; range 11.8-18.3) for Pakem district (P < 0.001). This result was confirmed by multiple linear regression analysis showing further that older respondents (P < 0.001), unemployed and retired respondents (P = 0.007), and respondents with no formal school education (P = 0.037) had lower I-EDS scores compared to the respective reference groups. Survivors of the Mt Merapi eruption who continue to live in the environment damaged by the 2010 volcanic eruption experience environmental distress. Relevant interventions should target those from low sosioeconomic groups to deal with the distress.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Environmental science, Volcano, Pacific Ring of Fire, Decade Volcanoes, Lava dome, Mount Merapi