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Living through a volcanic eruption: Understanding the experience of survivors as a phenomenological existential phenomenon

journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-25, 06:03 authored by S Warsini, Jane MillsJane Mills, C West, K Usher
© 2016 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. Mount Merapi in Indonesia is the most active volcano in the world with its 4-6-year eruption cycle. The mountain and surrounding areas are populated by hundreds of thousands of people who live near the volcano despite the danger posed to their wellbeing. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experience of people who survived the most recent eruption of Mount Merapi, which took place in 2010. Investigators conducted interviews with 20 participants to generate textual data that were coded and themed. Three themes linked to the phenomenological existential experience (temporality and relationality) of living through a volcanic eruption emerged from the data. These themes were: connectivity, disconnection and reconnection. Results indicate that the close relationship individuals have with Mount Merapi and others in their neighbourhood outweighs the risk of living in the shadow of an active volcano. This is the first study to analyze the phenomenological existential elements of living through a volcanic eruption.


The authors are especially grateful for the funding provided by James Cook University (JCU) where the first author was supported by a JCU International postgraduate research scholarship. We also acknowledge the research participants and assistants who contributed to the study.


Publication Date



International Journal of Mental Health Nursing






p. 206-213





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