Gov’t closely monitoring increased seismic volcanic activity on Savo Volcano
The Government through the Seismology Unit of the Geological Survey Division (GSD) ofthe Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE), and the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) are closely, and continuously monitoring the ongoing volcanic activities on Savo Island using real time data from the seismic station located on the crater of the Volcano.
On Wednesday 28th July 2021, the communities on the Island were alerted and have reported to respective Government agencies of the increased volcanic seismic activities on the Island. Following a joint volcano safety message number 1 was put out via SIBC later that evening.
On Friday 30th July 2021 a joint technical assessment team from GSD and NDMO were deployed to Savo to conduct rapid assessment and verify the reported observations by the communities.
The team assessed the crater the volcano and its surrounding environment. The team also assessed the seismic station located at the crater of the volcano and noted steam, water vapour and gaseous emissions indicating possible fissure activities within the crator. The technical experts also conduct community consultations with the people and communities on the Island.
Under the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management arrangement the Geology and Survey Division is the hazards advisor on seismic and volcanic hazards working at the National Emergency Operations Center.
The National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) of the National Disaster Council (NDC) have been briefed by the technical experts on the preliminary findings of the technical rapid assessment in an emergency meeting late on Saturday night chaired by the head of the NDC and attended by the N-DOC Sector Committees including the head of the Central Islands Provincial Disaster Committee (CIP – P-DOC) and the CIP Provincial Disaster Office.
The preliminary field based findings in conjunction with scientific observation data, community observations and traditional knowledge have confirmed actual increased volcanic seismic activities on Savo.
The NDC through the N-DOC Sector Committees and the CIP P-DOC Sector Committees are being activated on standby mode (preparedness to respond) and to immediately action the priority recommendations by the technical assessment.
The preparedness response action by the N-DOC and CIP-PDOC are important due to the explosive characteristics of the Savo volcano which has the potential of discharging block and ash, and pyroclastic flows (gaseous, hot pieces and debris of rock and ash).
It is understood that from recorded history and traditional accounts, the Savo Volcano has known to be active from the late 1400s, 1500s and the last eruption occurred between 1830–1845 with past and recent scientific studies determined that the Savo Volcano could become active again after 200 – 300 years of beingdormant.
The NEOC in collaboration with the GSD will continue to monitor and deploy monitoring technical teams to the island as well as issuing Volcano Safety Messages for Savo Island and surrounding areas. The NEOC encourages people to stay calm and observe the following measures:
- Do not attempt to investigate or go near the vicinity of the volcano crater.
- Do not spread rumours that may cause panic and fear.
- Continue to listen out for updates and further information from responsible
- Authorities through SIBC and FM radio stations.
- People are encouraged to pass on this message to others.
NEOC and GSD encourages the people on the Island to immediately contact report any unusual volcanic activities on the following numbers:
- Geological Survey Division (GSD) – 21522 Or 24505
- National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) – 955 Or 27936
- Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) – 933 Or 27658
- Police Operations Centre (POC) – 999