Cities That Are Dangerously Close to Volcanoes

It seems like humanity did not learn its lesson from Pompeii because there are still cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes. In different parts of the world, some settlements are face to face with volcano eruptions every day. The officials and locals of these cities must be cautious and careful in order to prevent another tragedy.

Hilo / Hawaii

Encompassing the island of Hawaii, Hilo is the 4th-most populous settlement of Hawaii. It has a population of nearly 45,000 people and is a popular tourist attraction. While the place is as beautiful as it gets, it is one of the cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes. In fact, it looks straight at Mauna Loa, one of the strongest and largest volcanoes in the world.

hilo volcano lava
Mike Mezeul

Mauna Loa has erupted 32 times since 1843 which was the first official eruption. One of the most scary eruptions was in 1984. The lavas from the eruption were so fierce that they illuminated Hilo even during the night. The lavas came as close as a few kilometers but diverted without reaching the settlement.

hilo of cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes
Trevin Spencer

Naples / Italy

While Naples is mainly popular for Vesuvius which was the destroyer of Pompeii, the real danger for the city is The Campi Flegrei. The Campi Flegrei is a supervolcano which means that it has a VEI of 8, the largest and strongest eruption record. There are only 20 known supervolcanoes and the city of Naples is living beside it.

naples of cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes

Although the Campi Flegrei last erupted in 1538, it remains a highly dangerous threat. If this supervolcano were to erupt, not only Naples but cities in France and Spain would also be in danger. Nearly 3 million people would have to relocate, and smoke and ashes would cover a part of Europe for a long time.

naples campi flegrei

Goma / Congo

With a population of nearly 800,000 people, Goma is one of the cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes. Unlike some other cities, the threat to Goma is ever-present. Goma is on the outskirts of Mount Nyiragongo which is a volcano built up by hardened lava over centuries. This volcano erupts frequently putting the people of Goma in high danger.

goma of cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes
Chris Atumanya

The latest and arguably scariest eruption was in 2021. On May 22, during the evening hours, the volcano started to erupt and spew lava. At that time, Goma had a population of 2 million people who were told to evacuate. Although the eruption stopped a few hours later, sadly, 32 people died and thousands of houses were destroyed.

goma volcano

Legazpi City / Philippines

Legazpi City is the cultural, social, political, and economic center of the Bicol region in the Philippines. It has a population of more than 200,000 people and ranks first in many worldwide city rankings. Moreover, it was named as the most business-friendly city in the country. They also managed to turn the deadly Mayon volcano into a touristic spectacle.

legazpi of cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes

The Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines and is sacred in the local mythology. Indigenous Bicolana people believed that their supreme deity lived on top of the volcano. Since 2000, Mayon erupted many times, injuring and killing many while destroying property. Thousands of people have evacuated and come back regularly over the years.

legazpi volcano during the night

Kagoshima / Japan

Known as the Naples of the East, Kagoshima, like its namesake, is one of the cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes. More than 500,000 people live in Kagoshima, near the most active volcano in Japan: Sakurajima.

kagoshima mountains

Kagoshima citizens are constantly under the threat of lava, ashes, and volcanic rocks. People often wear headgear to protect themselves from the debris that might come down on their heads. From 2010 to 2016, just in a 6-year span, the volcano erupted many times, sending lava and rock to the nearby areas.

kagoshima of cities that are dangerously close to volcanoes
ryo tabi