Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Cyclone Pam and Volcano Ambrym

One of the main problems with volcano club is that whenever I want to find out about somewhere it's normally because of a fairly large eruption and volcanoes tend to be in really cool places. Then I have this weird desire to go load of places following ecological disasters - so today we have Vanuatu. Vanuatu is so cool that it has the highest language density in the world and is estimated to be the most ecologically efficient country with high well being. It's a great place if you can ignore Tanna, the island where they worship Prince Philip, but that's a cargo cult which have more to do with european colonisation anyway, I mean I'm not a theologist but that's probably true. Unless you know all the flags in the world, all the capitals in the world or are an avid pointless viewer (tbh I'm sure that lots of people are all three) then you might not have known a lot about Vanuatu until cyclone Pam. Vanuatu is quite near Fiji and New Caledonia and used to be called New Hebrides presumably because like the real Hebrides when Captain Cook went there it rained continuously and no shops were open.

The cyclone has been described as the worst natural disaster in the country's history with many buildings being destroyed and some islands being left without services like drinking water. For the island of Ambrym things were particularly shit as there was also a volcanic eruption, however it wasn't in the direct path of the cyclone so other islands were worst affected and are still in need of aid. The volcano is also called Ambrym and has a 12km wide caldera which is fucking massive and was formed in the second largest eruption in recent history. There are two craters - Marum and Benbow which have lava lakes, lava lakes are fucking great as you can see below. The recent eruption was actually quite small and the volcano is one of the most active in the world but the area is still in state of alert.

A quick google search will tell you that aside from volcanoes the island is also known for black magic and there are many associated dances and rituals with this. I think that this type of searching shows the problem with the internet because while I'm sure that there are these beliefs which are important and deeply held, but if you're a tourist you probably aren't really seeing them and you can't expect to understand a foreign culture from a week long stay. Also these magical beliefs are often tied to big scary things, so maybe the sense of foreboding attached to the island has as much to do with the fucking massive active volcano as the black magic. Which is something me and my brother were talking about yesterday - that something can have different explanations which can be unrelated yet equally valid, only he put it way better as unlike me he is theologist and had a way better analogy.

Even by VC's very low standards this post has gone wildly off topic but basically don't believe google , don't be a voyeur and there is still a disaster in Vanuatu, donate if you want.

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