Hazard and risk perception at Turrialba volcano (Costa Rica); implications for disaster risk management

van Manen, Saskia M (2014). Hazard and risk perception at Turrialba volcano (Costa Rica); implications for disaster risk management. Applied Geography, 50 pp. 63–73.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.02.004


During the last decade there has been a shift toward understanding socio-economic dimensions of hazards and how these factors can be integrated into disaster risk reduction. This work examines hazard and risk perception at Turrialba volcano (Costa Rica) and exposure of communities to sulphur dioxide (SO2) and acid gases (NO2, HNO3, HCl, HF and HBr). Semi-structured interviews with residents in communities surrounding Turrialba volcano highlight that personal experience and socio economic factors impact on hazard knowledge and risk perception in the area. In addition there is concern about livelihoods, infrastructure and the availability and accessibility of information. In addition, the data suggest significant levels of un- or under-preparedness despite the public education initiatives that have occurred. This is a real concern in the face of the potential for larger and life-threatening eruptions and the continued gas discharge: ambient concentrations of SO2 exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines up to 15 km downwind of the active vents. This indicates increased attention and resources should be directed towards promoting engagement and disaster risk management at the community level through the already established community-level emergency management committees to achieve a balance of topedown and bottom-up approaches.

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