S3.17: Strategies and tools for communicating geohazards and georisks, raising public awareness and enhancing preparedness to natural disasters
The communication of geohazards and georisks is very complicated, due to the inherent complexity of Earth Sciences, and the psychological and social perception of natural hazards, towards which most local communities tend to have a fatalistic approach. However, the effective communication and popularization of geoscience are paramount to make citizens aware of geohazards and related risks. Strategies aimed at bridging the gap between scientists, decision-makers and civil protection institutions need to be implemented, so as to address the task of improving resilience to geological-related threats. The urgency of coming up with effective strategies and tools to reduce vulnerability towards geohazards is becoming imperative, as attested by a recent, life-threatening, paroxysmal event at Stromboli volcano in Italy: On July 3rd, 2019, hundreds of tourists rushed into the sea after a major summit explosion, instead of trying to reach safe points. If a tsunami had hit the island’s shores, as was the case here in 2002, very few would have escaped alive. This session is intended to foster discussion on these key topics, and is aimed at proposing innovative solutions not only for enhancing geohazard and georisk communication, but also for improving early warning systems; a further goal of the session is to identify new approaches and techniques to provide citizens with life-saving instructions during volcanic crises.