The Geophysical Institute of the Polytechnic University of Ecuador celebrates 25 years in the service of the country. The Institute is a national and international reference center for the study, monitoring, and research of volcanic and seismic hazards. Its work has helped to reduce the impact of volcanoes and earthquakes and to promote a culture of disaster prevention in Ecuador.
Ecuador is very vulnerable to seismic events and is the site of some of the most dangerous active volcanoes in Latin America, including Cotopaxi and Tungurahua, which are currently in a period of intense activity. The work of the Institute goes beyond technical research, and has demonstrated its value to policy- and decision-makers in planning and risk management. The Institute has also been indispensable in educating the population and promoting prevention and preparedness for volcanic or seismic emergencies.
The Institute’s areas of concentration are: volcanic or seismic surveillance through the installation of monitoring networks; design of warning systems; provision of information in real time; evaluation of hazards; preparation of risk maps and plans for early warning systems; and training activities. A central function of the Institute is education, which includes disseminating information and communicating with the population and authorities.
In Ecuador, the daily technical reports published by the Institute are consulted and respected by all sectors, including the media, universities, mayors, and health authorities. The United Nations honored the Institute with the Sasakawa Award in 1992, recognizing its important contributions to disaster reduction in the country and in the region. We congratulate the Institute and its Director, Hugo Yepes, for their commitment to excellence over the past 25 years. For more information on the work of the Institute, consult: www.igepn.edu.ec.