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Media Release: 23 October 2017

National Disaster Management Office

Honiara, Solomon Islands


Temotu’s Volcano Tinakula Erupts: Ash cloud reaches Reef Islands headed toward capital Lata

Temotu Province, Solomon Islands: Initial activity was recorded by the Melanesia Volcano Network, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department at 6.20am with ash and gas reaching heights of 35, 000 feet (10.7 kilometers) above sea level. Tinakula’s eruption is classed as Category Three, which means a minor eruption. Tinakula Island is uninhabited so there is no immediate threat to people on the island however risk relates to the trade winds carrying ash further to nearby islands.

CURRENT WARNINGS: MET service has issued a warning for aviation.  

HEALTH AND SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS: NDMO has issued a number of public instructions on how to remain safe and healthy.


Volcanic ash is made up of very small pieces of ash that we can breathe into our lungs and that can create irritations on our skin or in our eyes. They can also be toxic and therefore create a health risk through contamination of food and water supply.



Volcanic ash can travel far carried on high level winds and can be very hard to clean up. It can have significant impacts on safety of houses, use of engines and be damaging to food crops.


The volcano and its ash change the weather conditions and can create thunderstorms and heavy rain. This can also lead to little landslides and muddy conditions. It may make reaching the gardens to collect food hard for some times so make sure you have some food stored.


Currently, the ash cloud has travelled over much of Eastern Temotu Province, Reef Islands. Ash is carried on the wind that flows at a high level and this can be different to the direction of wind on the ground. Upper level wind is currently blowing westerly which will carry the ash toward Temotu’s capital, Lata. Currently ground level winds are travelling in a southeasterly direction. 

NDMO encourages the public to take wise decisions to remain safe, strong and healthy during this time. Check our website for further updates and listen to SIBC and other radio stations at main news times.