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A database of the economic impacts of historical volcanic eruptions
The aim of the project presented in this paper is to build a new database to increase our understanding in the field, to facilitate the identification of vulnerability and resilience factors to future events. History has shown that economic consequences of a volcanic eruption can be disastrous, and nowadays 800 million people in 86 different countries are living within 100 km of an active or a potentially active volcano. Eruptions can cause significant economic loss and damage directly (eruptive processes) or indirectly (associated non-eruptive processes like lahars, tsunamis, etc.), and through cascading effects (perturbations on transport, networks, etc.). Loss and damages can then be direct, indirect, tangible or intangible, short-term or long-term, also depending on the exposure and vulnerability of the economic activities. Existing database on historical eruptions do not provide, or too sparsely, information on these economic impacts.
The researchers selected a sample of 55 eruptions from 42 volcanoes located in 18 developing and developed countries, that occurred after the World War II. They documented a number of physical characteristics of these eruptions and volcanoes. Second, the researchers identified the different damages and losses due to volcanic events through 37 qualitative and quantitative variables. The paper collects economic information and data on these variables, using a variety of sources (governmental and non-governmental agencies, academic institutions, volcanic observatories, press, etc.). This database will be accessible through a web interface and the community will be able to contribute to its development by recording information on the economic consequences of past and future events. A next step would consist in extrapolating the economic impacts for those historical eruptions with missing data and of those that are not included in the first sample.
Find the associated database here: