There are potential health risks associated with volcanic activity. Volcanic activity can include ashfall, falling rocks, hot gases, lava, and mud flows. The following information is useful to help prepare and protect you and your family and your whānau during and after a volcanic eruption.
Volcanic activity updates
- Understanding the volcanic risk of your community is the first step to prepare for an emergency. Mt Ruapehu is one of our most active volcanoes. GeoNet monitors Ruapehu volcano and its crater lake. You can check out the latest Volcanic Activity Bulletins from GeoNet here.
- If you planning on visiting the Mt Ruapehu area, visit the Department of Conservation's website on volcanic risk in Tongariro National Park for updates.
Preparing for volcanic activity
- The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has up to date information on what to do before, during and after volcanic activity.
- Ash fall is the most likely volcanic health hazard. This guideline on preparedness before, during and after an ashfall recommends what to do to prepare and how to clean up ash safely.
- GNS Science have information on the numerous types of hazards that may result from a volcanic eruption.
Health and volcanic ash
Volcanic ash can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation. People with chronic lung conditions are at higher risk. Common short-term symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat, sometimes accompanied by dry coughing
- Airway irritation
- Uncomfortable breathing, shortness of breath and wheezing
- People with pre-existing chest complaints may experiencing a worsening of symptoms
- Itchy, painful or bloodshot eyes
- Irritation and reddening of the skin
For more information on the health hazards of volcanic ash, click here.
- Get Ready, Get Thru - The National Emergency Management Agency has information on the correct radio stations, online and social media resources to keep you updated during an emergency. The site is translated into nine languages.
- Drinking water advice - Freshly fallen ash may contaminate home water supplies and equipment.
- The health hazards of volcanic and geothermal gases
- Protection from breathing volcanic ash
- Cleaning up ash safely - Follow advice on how volcanic ash can be cleaned up safely.
- Working at heights - Follow WorkSafe advice to work safely on roofs.
Updated 09 Dec, 2022