It may seem strange to recall older man-made catastrophes here but the link is obvious. A pyroclastic eruption does much the same to both buildings and living things as these shameful historic events. If we don't like the following images, maybe none of us should condone the events that led to them.
These photos from the Vietnam war are probably the most famous images of what napalm use against civilians does to humans. But they could just as well come from a village near Merapi recently and show the aftermath of a surge hitting a school and evacuation team.
BACK TO MERAPI
The obvious next question is; “Why have the Indonesian authorities not provided suitable emergency shelters throughout this densely populated area, so that people have somewhere safe to hide from surges”. The obvious impetus is that similar fatalities occur every few years. The next three photos show that the answer is: yes, of course they’ve tried this approach but it failed catastrophically in 2006. Who had the bright idea of positioning these shelters in a valley, rather than on higher and/or steeply sloping ground nearby? Apparently, the same team also built them of steel, like ovens when heated by ash. The wall around the unused shelter gives hot ash a perfect place to accumulate.
|Here there is damp ash clinging everywhere and ripped clothing, resulting from very violent surge movement. Skin burns are visible and the extent of these decides whether or not such a victim will survive.|
Indonesia is an extremely rough country, at the best of times. Here's how they deal with someone caught stealing (looting) from wrecked houses and dead people.
Now it's time to be more positive and see how residents might try to survive such events by seeking shelter. Let's start with a bad example.