Scientists from 20 volcano observatories around the globe gathered in Vancouver, Washington, November 15-18, 2016, to share their experiences in monitoring volcanoes and communicating volcanic hazards. This was the third Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop (VOBP3) convened by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, Volcano Disaster Assistance Program and Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.
The topic of discussion at VOBP3 was volcano hazard assessments—modeling and forecasting volcano hazards, estimating and representing uncertainties, and meeting the needs of decision makers and stakeholders. The shared view is that the next generation of hazard assessments must convey the impacts of volcanic events on people and infrastructure, and include a portfolio of products (from technical to illustrative) to meet the needs of scientists, emergency managers, public officials and people impacted by volcanoes. Participants will work toward developing hazard-assessment guidelines that include practical solutions to mitigate risk and build resiliency in at-risk communities.
There are approximately 1,550 potentially active volcanoes around the world. 2016 marks the 30th year that the Volcano Disaster Assistance program (VDAP) has worked to reduce loss of life and property, limit economic impact and prevent volcanic crises from becoming disasters. The USGS and U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) established VDAP in 1986 in response to the tragic eruption of Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Colombia, which killed more than 23,000 people from volcanic mudflows. Since then, VDAP scientific teams have deployed in response to 30 major crises, assisted counterparts with hundreds of additional volcanic events, and strengthened response capacity in 12 countries since the program began.
To recognize the milestone, the USGS is highlighting some of the major responses, showing how the program has helped save countless lives. Read the USGS Top Story to learn how VDAP works to support international scientists and agencies at the invitation of a host country.