Mount Sinabung: Likelihood of Volcanic Ash Affecting Singapore is Low

Singapore, 18 January 2014 – Mount Sinabung, located 80km west of Medan, North Sumatra, and 650km from Singapore, has been in a state of intermittent volcanic activity since 15 September 2013. To date, Singapore has not been affected by the volcanic ash from this volcanic activity.

2The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has been closely monitoring the situation. There has been an intensification of volcanic activity in recent days.

3Dispersion model simulations by the MSS as well as the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre indicate that over the next one to two days, volcanic ash is expected to move south, but will be confined within the northern half of Sumatra. The likelihood of volcanic ash affecting Singapore is low and the 24-hr PSI is expected to remain in the Good band. Should some volcanic ash reach Singapore under current conditions, there may be a slight deterioration in air quality. MSS will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on developments.

4The most frequent health problems that occur among people who have been exposed to volcanic ash are acute respiratory symptoms, stress and irritations of eyes (contact lens users are at risk) and skin, and exacerbation in people with cardio-respiratory problems. People with existing lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, as well as older adults and children are also sensitive towards the exposure of volcanic ash. The severity of these problems is however, affected by the concentration of ash and the duration of exposure to ash. The amount of ash that may reach Singapore is likely to be small and the duration relatively short, posing little or no health risk to the public.

5The public may refer to the NEA website ( for regular updates on the situation. The 24-hr PSI is used as the reference to measure air quality during a volcanic ash situation as the volcanic ash particles[1] are in the PM10[2] range and included in the PSI. The public may access PSI updates through the following channels:

For more frequently asked questions on volcanic ash, click here. FAQs on Volcanic Ash

[1] Volcanic ash particles are pieces of pulverized rock like sand or rock dust made of silica with some amounts of potassium, aluminum and iron. Trace quantities of other metals may also be present.

[2] Particulate matter of 10 microns or smaller in size.

[3] Particulate matter of 10 microns or smaller in size

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