CARIBRISK: Increasing resilience to volcanic eruptions in the eastern Caribbean, Northern Andes and Central America.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Earth Sciences


About 500 million people live close enough to active volcanoes that their lives are threatened and lives are disrupted when there is volcanic unrest or an eruption starts. As well as the potential for loss of life, volcanic eruptions can cause large economic losses, as illustrated by the recent volcanic ash emergency in Europe. As with other natural hazards, volcanic disasters can inhibit development, lead to suffering and lead to many social problems. These effects are particularly notable in emerging and developing countries. This project, named CARIBRISK, aims to increase resilience to volcanic eruptions in the eastern Caribbean, countries of the northern Andes and Central America through a co-ordinated and integrated project which includes the involvement, views and participation of institutes and users of research in this region. Volcanic disasters and emergencies have the characteristic that they involve interactions between natural forces and human systems. Increasing resilience requires us to understand these interactions. It is useful to think of a life cycle of volcanic emergencies, namely preparedness prior to an eruption, response during volcanic unrest and eruption, and recovery. A comprehensive response requires research that addresses all three stages, and there are both scientific and socio-economic dimensions. Geoscientists can map out the areas and critical infrastructure that might be affected and set up instrumental networks to give early warning, and can monitor eruptions and respond with scientific advice to authorities during eruptions. Social and political scientists can identify vulnerabilities, assess human behaviours and attitudes, and assess the effectiveness of societal responses such as evacuation plans and public education programmes. Both natural and social sciences can analyse responses and recovery. The key perspective of this project is to identify research which is most likely to help increase resilience. We think that the best way of identifying key research is to talk to people on the ground who have the responsibility to respond about what they think are the key research needs. This study proposes to develop a dialogue with scientific institutions, international agencies, national and regional and local government and services responsible for planning for and responding to volcanic emergencies, NGOs, affected communities and the business sector (for example the insurance industry and agriculture). We propose to develop an advisory forum in the greater Caribbean region, make visits to the region to talk to key people and to hold a major workshop. We envisage a two way dialogue. The consortium of UK partners has considerable expertise in volcanology and the relevant social sciences, as well as experience in the region in real volcanic emergencies and working with partner institutions. We also have leading expertise in development, disaster risk reduction and political sciences. We of course have our own ideas on what research should be developed. However, the stakeholders and users of research will have a great deal of expertise and knowledge, especially at the sharp end of dealing with volcanic hazards and emergencies. We want to know what they think, exchange ideas and approaches and thus come up with a research agenda for CARIBRISK that is both excellent science and integrates the needs and views of the main stakeholders. We think that this is the best approach to increase resilience.


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Description This project funded a workshop, fact-finding visits and planning to aid the development of the joint NERC-ESRC Natural Hazards theme. This led to a successful application for funding by the project team, 'STREVA', Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas.
Exploitation Route Project findings were reported back to the NERC-ESRC Natural Hazards Theme planning team.
Sectors Environment