Volcanoes, either dormant or active, coexist with 10% of the world's population (more than 500 million people), placing a very high potential risk on the neighboring communities. Statistics reveal the particular threat facing Latin American and Caribbean countries: in the 20th century, 76% of the deaths caused by volcanic eruptions took place in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the last 15 years, almost half of the strongest eruptions in the world took place in this region.
This video is divided in two complementary, but clearly distinct parts that can be used independently. The first part deals with the main health risks resulting from volcanic eruptions. It dispels certain myths concerning the dangers to public health, pointing out that although lava and rocks do pose a grave danger, less spectacular, but more dangerous pyroclastic flows or mudflows have actually caused the greatest number of deaths and injuries.
The second part of the video is centered on health sector preparedness and prevention plans and measures to minimize the damage caused by volcanic eruptions. Plans should cover several possible scenarios, they must be realistic and flexible and they must be carried out with the participation of other scientific sectors and emergency response agencies.
This video is technical in nature and it is best situated for health personnel.
This short technical guide is a companion to the video on volcanoes "Health Planning for Volcanic Crisis". Both the video, and the guide, focus on the principal health hazards of volcanic eruptions, together with the basic planning measures the health sector can and should take to reduce potential effects. The guide is intended to serve as reference material that can be consulted before, during or after viewing the program. The text of the guide has been modified and adapted from the original video script.
Click here to see the guide in PDF format.
Regional Office of the World Health Organization