Strengthen Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA)

STREVA will bring together researchers from universities, research institutes and volcano observatories, to explore methods for reducing the negative consequences of volcanic activity on communities. We will work both with the communities facing volcanic threats, and with those responsible for monitoring, preparing for and responding to those threats. Our main partners are volcano monitoring agencies and observatories in Colombia, the Caribbean and Ecuador, and through them, disaster managers and disaster researchers throughout the region, as well as residents of communities at risk. We will use a number of techniques to build links between the project and the wider community, including workshops, running scenario exercises, and using social media to report our results.

Our aim, by working collaboratively across different disciplines, is to develop and apply a risk assessment framework that will help communities to develop better plans for living in volcanic areas that reduce the negative consequences of volcanic activity. Volcanic risk is a complex problem, which we shall understand by investigating a number of volcanoes across the region. These case studies will help us to identify common issues in volcanic disaster risk and ultimately develop regional hazard assessment processes. These will be crucial for long-term planning to reduce the exposure of people and communities to volcanic hazards. The countries in which we will work are all middle income and face multiple volcanic threats, often in close proximity to large towns and cities. The main focus will be on seven volcanic sites across the Lesser Antilles, Ecuador and Colombia. We will begin the project by reviewing the secondary literature on three well monitored and active volcanoes, to understand what has already been done to understand and reduce risk to the surrounding population. We will then take these lessons and apply them to three high-risk volcanoes where monitoring and understanding is less advanced. Through in-depth empirical research in these volcanic areas we shall begin to develop, test and apply our new risk assessment framework and methods for application.

STREVA's work will generate improvements in: (i) methods for forecasting the start of eruptions and changes in activity during eruption; (ii) prediction of areas at-risk (the "footprint") from different volcanic hazards; (iii) understanding of the factors that make people and their assets more vulnerable to volcanic threats; (iv) understanding of institutional constraints and capacities and how to improve incentives for risk reduction By the end of the project, our new knowledge will help us to measure volcanic risk more accurately, and monitor how that risk is changing. The practical results will be a strengthening in the capacity of stakeholders at different scales (staff in volcano observatories, local and national governments and NGOs) to produce risk assessments for high-risk volcanoes and use them to improve preparedness and response to volcanic emergencies and build resilience in the surrounding communities through long-term planning. In adopting this approach, STREVA will have real impacts in real places, and will significantly advance the fields of volcanic risk analysis and disaster risk reduction.