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Mitigating volcanic disasters

by PUNONGBAYAN, R.S.
Subject(s): Erupciones Volcanicas. | Filipinas. | Mitigacion Previa Al Desastre. | Volcanes.
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In: Herath, Srikantha, ed; Katayama, Tsuneo, ed. natural disaster reduction : Proceedings of VII PSA workshop. Okinawa, International Center for Disaster-Mitigation Engineering (INCEDE); Institute of Industrial Science University of Tokyo, jul. 1994. Presentado en: Pacific Science Inter Congress, 7; Okinawa, 27 jun.-3 jul. 1993. The basic fundation for mitigating volcanic disasters is anticipation. Being able to foresee what active volcanoes will do or are capable of doing whenever they erupt will definitely minimize or prevent loss of life and property. There are, therefore, many steps involved in mitigating disasters from volcanic eruptions and their attendant primary and secondary hazards. Some of these are to be implemented long before the eruptions, others to be implemented days or weeks before the eruptions, and others still to be done during and after volcanic unrest. In capsulized form, the approach we are successfully applying in the Philippines, as in the june 1991 eruption of Pinatubo Volcano and the 1993 eruption of Mayon Volcano, involves the following: identification of active volcanoes in the country; establishment of monitoring stations per active volcano; conduct of basic studies to determine the nature and characteristics of the volcano`s eruptive behavior; hazards assessment and zonation; hazards awareness and preparedness promotion before and during volcanic unrest; selection and designation of escape routes and evacuation centers; team work and proper delineation of tasks and coordination among disaster response agencies; determination of the lone source of information about a developing or ongoing unrest; complete monitoring and documentation of volcanic crises; determination of the end of volcanic unrest; promotion of volcanic hazards-constrained land use planning around active volcanoes (AU).

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