Spoiler Alert: Not another film about what scientists do at volcanoes…

 

Our understanding of how volcanoes work springs forward with each fresh eruption. Volcanologists stud the heaving flanks with scientific instruments; analyzing those data and the eruption provide unique new insights every time.

And yet, scientists could still do better at improving life for those who have to cope with and recover from the impacts of volcanic activity. Remarkably, we spend a lot less time listening to their tales of how the eruption unraveled, and what did and didn't work as communities responded. We're trying to fix that.

Earlier this year, as part of the STREVA Project, we held a large workshop on the island of St. Vincent to consider volcanic risk. St. Vincent has had several large eruptions in historical times, the last in 1979. One of the clearest messages from the Vincentian participants was that they wanted to benefit from each other's experience and knowledge of just what happened in 1979, and they wanted a record of that for posterity.

These films are part of our response to that request. There are three films.

 In the first, Vincentians describe their feelings and actions on the 13th April when a large explosive eruption started on Good Friday, 1979. They also describe the knowledge passed down to them about the larger, fatal eruption in 1902.

In the second, they describe life in the evacuation shelters and picking up the pieces after the eruption.

And in the third, our interviewees describe what it feels like to live on this beautiful island, with an active volcano and what they think might happen when Soufriere erupts again.

These powerful first hand accounts provide a brief window into the kind of rich insights listening to the communities who experience activity bring. As part of STREVA's research we have gathered information like this and from it we are learning more about volcanic behavior and societal response.

These films are part of our thank you to the people of St. Vincent who have generously shared their knowledge and time. They premiered earlier this year in the capital Kingstown and now we would like to share them further. We'd also like to thank LambdaFilms who have done such a great job at telling our volunteer'stories  and what it is that makes an island like St. Vincent such an attractive place to live, volcano and all.

Watch out in the New Year for our final film where SRC's Dr. Richie Robertson shares some of his knowledge of past volcanic activity on the island!

These films were made possible by funding from NERC Impact.