Why are volcanoes so dangerous?
People living near the mount of Vesuvius in the first century might be a good but very tragic example of how unpredictable and dangerous volcanoes are. Many of thousands of Romanians who died in 79 AD didnít even realize that they had been living next to a murderous giant. The volcano had been inactive for many, many decades so even if it did erupt some time before the big explosion nobody would even remember. Vesuvius was responsible for a massacre of Pompeii citizens who were buried with ash falling out of the sky. It also buried another village of Hercules where people drowned in the fast going mudflows.
Yet people still havenít found a good protection against the sleeping beasts. Even nowadays people living in economically developing countries cultivate risk areas around volcanoes. Ground being affected by ash falling off volcanoes over centuries became very fertile which caused that many farmers in poorer states seek for better living in possibly dangerous areas.
Another good example of recent historyís unexpected eruption was that of Pinatubo in 1991. Since the 14th century the volcano has been never reported to be active and after six hundred years it awakened again. Thanks to suspiciousness of some airport workers who warned authorities that something unusual is happening to the volcano. Quick steps were taken and that only saved lives of couple thousand people living nearby. Despite evacuation 66 people lost their lives and another 600 after long term effects. About 200 000 homes were damaged by earthquakes and mud flows (ash and rain) which occur right after the explosion. Immediate help was impossible due to blockage of roads with mud. Power lines were destroyed and water contaminated. Still it wasnít the end of the horror.
Many people look at disasters from one point of view. They offer help as long as they hear about the problem on the news. But reality is more terrifying than anyone would think. People who suffered from Pinatuboís explosion might still be affected by long term effects of the explosion. Not only the debris and ash damaged the crops but it also made impossible to cultivate anything for a long period of time. Villagers forced to live in the quick-made shanties were very prone to fast spreading diseases like chicken pox or malaria. That example shows how dangerous are volcanoes indeed. One but big eruption may lead to a great disaster which may last for decades.