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MIAVITA 3 years progress 

Reminder of project context and objectives

In EU countries, volcanic risks assessment and management are tackled through scientific knowledge and monitoring, although there is still a need for integration between all risk management components. For International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPCs), the risk management depends on local situations but is often less favorable. Therefore, following UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction recommendations and starting from shared existing knowledge and practices, the MIAVITA project aims at developing tools and integrated cost effective methodologies to mitigate risks from various hazards on active volcanoes (prevention, crisis management and recovering).

Such methodologies are designed for ICPCs contexts but will be helpful for European stakeholders to improve their experience in volcanic risk management. The project multidisciplinary team gathers civil defence agencies, national geological and volcanological surveys, scientific teams (earth sciences, social sciences, building, soil, agriculture, information technologies (IT) and telecommunications) and an IT private company.


The scientific work focuses on:

•the development of a risk assessment methodology that can be applied to any volcano, and adapted to the existing and available knowledge

•the design of a WebGIS and data repository, as well as specifications and development of scenario builder

•the identification and use of cost efficient monitoring tools designed for poorly monitored volcanoes i.e. satellite &  ground monitoring, more particularly gas analysis & volcano-seismology

•the improvement of vulnerability assessment of people and goods: buildings and biosphere

•socio-economic surveys to enhance community resilience

•the identification of good practices for volcano monitoring and emergency management in what concerns telecommunications


Results are achieved in partnership with local scientists and stakeholders in Africa (Mount Cameroon, Fogo in Cape Verde), in Asia (Merapi in Indonesia, Kanlaon in Philippines). The objectives will be reached through sharing/transfer of know-how, through scientific and technological developments, and through dissemination/training.


Work performed and main results achieved so far

Knowledge database and Web-GIS design

At Kanlaon, a field work aiming at reviewing the existing geological and hazard maps was conducted by PHIVOLCS and INGV. It provided a better understanding of the volcano-tectonic evolution of Mount Kanlaon and allowed an improvement of the existing hazard map by refining the general temporal succession of its volcanic units. For each volcano, elements at stake have been listed to serve for risk mapping application and scenario description.

Figure 1 - Multi-hazard maps in Kanlaon (Source: Phivolcs, INGV; MIAVITA project)


For the web-GIS, a first step was to define and specify how to display a very complex database, which should be managed using ArcGIS or Mapinfo as well as used for scenario building using a specific scenario software. After this definition phase, KELL undertook the development of a pilot application, applied to data of Mount Cameroon. It includes an administrator application, enabling to manage the data and the user privileges, and a classical visualisation application. The repartition of privileges among various categories of users appeared to be critical for risk management, and needs to be adapted to the different phases of crisis.


The risk mapping methodology developed in the project is based on CVGHM-BPPTK tool, which can be applied to Mt Cameroon and Kanlaon. Specifications of scenario builder software have been defined in a general context and then developed for a specific application through three pre-defined scenarios of eruption at Mount Cameroon. This work has shown that the different functions of existing damage can actually be ordered as part of such a tool, but also that the usual limits of the scenario-tools, namely the fact that they cannot assess the potential indirect damages, are here especially exacerbated because of the temporal dimension of the hazardous event. Because of this, we think that scenario builders are most useful for preparedness exercises and at the earliest stage of abrupt disasters. For longer term recovery, the assessment of factors of vulnerability of people remains the most important action to undertake.


Monitoring: cost effective set-up and data analysis

Monitoring set-up and data analysis has been performed and it is still going on in Fogo, Merapi and Kanlaon volcanoes.

In particular, a small network of corner reflectors (CRs) has been successfully set up in Fogo, which is used for SAR data calibration and analysis. A detailed description of the installation is available here 


Figure 2 - Corner reflectors installation: the three selected sites (left panel) represented by red triangles; a corner reflectors ready to work in Cha das Caldeiras (right panel)

At Merapi volcano the work was mainly focused on seismicity and gas monitoring aspects. During the Merapi 2010 eruption, in fact, the link between gas and seismicity has been clearly pointed out. From observations it is clear that the amount of gas released from Merapi is directly linked to the seismicity, as seen by RSAM. In addition to this, many remote sensing data have been processed during the crisis in order to retrieve SO2 (AIRS and IASI sensors) and ash (MODIS and MTSAT). For this latter the detection and cloud dispersion forecast have also been estimated. SAR data analysis – with very high resolution images from COSMO-SkyMed - has been performed in order to monitor the evolution of changes of volcano crater. Moreover, the analysis allowed an evaluation of the pyroclastic deposits coverage. Further data processing is on-going, aiming at evaluating the volume of the volcanic products by means of DEM changes.


Figure 3 - So2 flux, upper panel, and RSAM amplitude, lower panel, highlighted the strong link between seismicity and gas emissions

In addition, remote sensing data have been processed in order to derive new DEM and surface velocity fields for the three volcanoes.


Fragility curves and ecological vulnerability assessment

A field survey for damage assessment was done three weeks after the eruption of Merapi in October and November 2010. During this trip, valuable data were gathered concerning building damages related to different kinds of Pyroclastic Density Currents (PDCs) as well as damage to bridges and other infrastructure caused by lahars. Within a multidisciplinary team also health aspects, disaster management and preparedness were assessed directly during the volcanic crisis.


Figure 4 - Damages of the 2010 Merapi eruption iat Umbalharjo (photo: S.Jenkins)

The vulnerability assessment enabled to make proposals for mitigation strategies, and propose some key components (or indicators) of resilience to volcanic hazards, and the associated characteristics of a resilient community. The analysis was based on the work achieved on buildings and physical infrastructure supporting the agricultural economy. A framework with five thematic areas of resilience was established, with associated sets of disaster resilient community characteristics defined. Short and long-term physical mitigation measures specific to buildings and agricultural support infrastructure were proposed for the largely agricultural communities living close to Kanlaon, Fogo and Merapi volcanoes. Incompatibilities and limitations of the mitigation measures with reference to other proposed measures, other hazards and socio-economic constraints were also provided.


Socio-economic vulnerability and resilience

Based on extensive, far-reaching, in-depth and ‘real-life’ data and evidence collected between 2009 and 2011 by MINIMIDT and INGV, a socio-economic study of volcanic risks in the Mount Cameroon region of Cameroon has been undertaken. Major findings of the study will be used to develop a community-based disaster risk management scheme. This scheme will integrate the perception of risk, the various classes and categories of vulnerability, the state of preparedness, disaster response, disaster risk education and communication, the collaboration between government, scientist and community leaders and their populations, land tenure, infrastructural and architectural development adapted to the risky zones or disaster prone areas, adequate town planning measures, and economic empowerment.


In addition to this, P3DM (Participatory 3D Mapping) were accomplished in 2011 in some villages around Fogo, Merapi and Kanlaon. This methodology emphasized the factors of vulnerability on the 3 volcanoes, but also enhanced some opportunities, e.g. at Fogo: diversity of activities, strong local knowledge of risk, experience and safe remittances, permanent volcano monitoring contingency plan. Stakeholders wish a more bottom-up way of managing risks and resources (with Natural Parc of Fogo) through P3DM.

At Merapi, the P3DM allowed the local people to show the evacuation routes that they used during the 2010 volcanic crisis, as well as their starting point and final destination. These results will be mapped and included into a GIS. Preliminary results have emphasized some discrepancies between the official evacuation roads and the routes taken by the local community. In addition, a dialogue between the local people and the volcanologists allowed assessing the perception of the local people on the lahar occurrence and lahar pass ways.

The 3D maps greatly help in making disaster risk assessment faster and efficient. The participants were able to assess their own vulnerabilities and capacities in the face of different natural hazards which are all plotted in the map. The results of risk assessment were eventually used as input during the DRR action planning. These activities were all facilitated by the local authorities and local people with less intervention from the outside stakeholders (CNRS and local Authorities). This is an indication of success in empowering the local people and authorities using participatory methods.

All the P3DM maps are bridging the gap between the local people and the authorities. These maps are the basis of an effective DRR action planning, crisis management and evacuation drill (at Kanlaon). They serve as a reminder to the local people of the risk of disasters and their vulnerabilities and capacities. A partially completed version of local contingency plan guided by the Mt. Kanlaon Contingency Plan for volcanic hazards is in process. A functional Barangay (village) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has been established, which allows a proper allocation of the local budget for disaster preparedness.


Figure 5 - P3DM activities at Kanlaon

At Kanlaon, a joint evaluation/assessment of the local officials and the local Authorities on DRR action plans and evacuation drill was also conducted to identify their strength and weaknesses. The results of these evaluations will be the basis of the next DRR action planning activities.


Communication strategies for crisis management

In Fogo Island, a very significant improvement of the standards of volcanic monitoring was achieved, through the upgrade of the data transmission infrastructure, which secures real-time access to a substantial volume of monitoring data for analysis at INMG headquarters in Mindelo. In a short time, the VolcanoCast service will constitute an innovative tool available for volcano monitoring and emergency management.


Given the overall low level of awareness to the critical nature of data transmission and communications reliability for volcanic emergency management, recommendations for good practices in what concerns communications can be expected to raise the awareness to this particular problem and help promote corrective measures, thus reducing the vulnerability of the communities exposed.


The expected final results and their potential impact and use

Expected main results are:

-Original methodology and guidelines for multi-hazard and risk mapping on active volcanoes, based on applications on the MIAVITA’s target volcanoes, validated by local authorities. This methodology will integrate a pilot WebGIS, which could be reusable in other countries threatened by active volcanoes.

-Demonstration and validation of new methods to monitor volcanoes, integrating remote sensing techniques and geophysics (gas, seismicity and ground deformation).

-Guidelines for integration of socio-economic aspects in risk mitigation: Proposals and examples for mitigation strategies to build community resilience to volcanic hazards;

-Community-based disaster risk management plans; Recommendations on how to integrate bottom-up and top-down risk mitigation measures.

-Recommendations on data transmission and communications reliability for volcanic emergency management. More particularly, the demonstration of possibility of using GEONETCast’s services in natural disaster management may prove to be a highly innovative progress in this crucial domain.


All results will be presented at the “Integrated Approaches for Volcanic Risk Management” Conference that will be held on 11th-12th September 2012 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Main outcomes and essential recommendations will be published in a final handbook dedicated to stakeholders involved in volcanic risk management.