Mount Pelee on the island of Martinique erupted in 1902 and killed 30,000 of the islands inhabitants and left almost no survivors in the city of St Pierre. This was mainly due to the pyroclastic flow that occurred on the 8th May. There had been numerous signs of an eruption for many days beforehand but the leaders of the town ignored these signs. This was partly due to their mistake but as this was over 100 years ago much less was known about volcanoes and eruptions so they would have had less information about what would be best to do. The catastrophic damage was also partly due t physical factors. A v-shaped notch was cut in the cliffs of the volcano and aimed directly at the city. This meant when the pyroclastic flow occurred its energy and force was directed straight at the city. It travelled over 100 miles an hour and destroyed the entire city and had such power it threw a 3 tonne statue 16 metres from its mount. This was therefore a major cause in how damaging this was as if this notch was not there it is possible that the force would be less concentrated and less damaging to the area. However there is of course the human decision to build the city there and to not move when signs of eruption occurred. However this was partially due to the lack of information available at this time as in 1902 there was little study of volcanoes and the effects of them. Therefore the human factors were major in the reasons for impacts of this eruption, had the leaders decided to abandon the town or listened to calls to take actions it would have been much less damaging but the physical factors including the power of the pyroclastic flow and the notch cut into the cliffs meant that extreme damage would have occurred no matter.
Overall it is human factors that decide how significant the impacts of a volcanic hazard are but there is also a large extent to which humans cannot be blamed. When Mt St Helens erupted the area covered and the lightening created could not be controlled by humans and could not be predicted that it would cover such a large area. However there were still highways and cities, including Seattle, built nearby that meant the damage was greater than if humans had decided to build further away. Although lots of the damage was to the environment and therefore it is not only human factors that decide how much of an impact volcanic hazards caused and this is clear from the eruption of Mount Pelee. This eruption killed thousands and had little environmental impact on the area. However it was a mixture of human factors and physical factors that meant this eruption was so dangerous. However form both of these we can see that humans can make the situation much worse and cause the impacts to be much greater and is therefore a greater factor than any physical or natural factors.