PARIS (AFP) – The following is a list of the most deadly volcanic eruptions over the past two decades:
1994 – Indonesia: Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, situated in densely populated central Java, erupts killing more than 60 and forcing the evacuation of about 6,000 people.
1995 – The Philippines: At least 70 are killed and another 30 left missing after the crater of the Parker volcano in the south of the island of Mindanao collapses. Four years earlier the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Manila, kills more than 800.
1997 – Montserrat: The capital of the small British colony, Plymouth, is wiped off the map and 20 are killed or left missing in avalanches of hot rock and ash clouds when its volcano erupts.
1999 – Peru: At least 34 people go missing after a sudden volcanic eruption causes mudslides that bury five Andean villages northeast of Lima.
2002 – DR Congo: The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo destroys the centre of Goma town, along with several residential areas, and kills more than 70.
2010 – Indonesia: An explosion at Mount Merapi kills at least 350 people in the most powerful eruption of the volcano since 1872. Another, in 1930, killed 1,300 people.
2014 – Indonesia: At least 16 people are killed on the island of Sumatra by a spectacular eruption of Mount Sinabung, which had lain dormant for 400 years before awakening in 2010.
2014 – Japan: The sudden eruption of Mount Ontake is feared to have killed 31 hikers, who were found by rescue workers in “cardiac arrest” near the summit. Four people have so far been confirmed dead after the volcano erupted without warning, spewing out ash, rocks and steam.
In 1991, also in Japan, 43 people are killed when the country’s Unzen volcano erupts.
The explosion of Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano in 1883, which killed more than 36,000 people, is considered the worst ever seen. The eruption sent a jet of ash, stones and smoke shooting more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) into the sky, plunging the region into darkness, and sparked a huge tsunami that was felt around the world.
The eruption of the country’s Tamboro volcano in 1815 killed 92,000 initially, but 80,000 deaths came from the famine that followed.
The most famous eruption in history is that of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Pompeii, wiping out an estimated 10 per cent of the population of the three cities.