As Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire belches 1,000-foot fountain of lava, PDC helps reduce risk

July 24, 2017
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As Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire belches 1,000-foot fountain of lava, PDC helps reduce risk
July 24, 2017

Guatemala’s July eruption of the Volcano of Fire marks its sixth major eruption of 2017, during which time thePacific Disaster Center (PDC) and other national agencies finalize assessment and new tools to help make better decisions faster.

Home to three dangerous volcanoes, frequent earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and landslides, Guatemala is one of the most populous and economically developed countries in Central America, yet despite its economic strength it remains one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Densely populated urban areas, as well as more vulnerable, hard-to-access rural communities are both exposed to extreme hazards—making disaster preparedness and response a significant challenge throughout the country. Furthermore, Guatemala’s richly diverse cultural makeup, which represents more than 20 distinct languages and indigenous dialects, complicates efforts to reach communities with important disaster preparedness information.

To tackle these challenges, the Government of Guatemala is undertaking many new initiatives including the recent partnership with PDC to provide scientific data, decision-support tools, and a five-year action plan to increase disaster resilience through its National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment (NDPBA) program. Other significant steps being taken by the country include the construction of a new emergency operations headquarters and the adoption of policies to incorporate disaster risk into the national planning and development agenda.

“PDC’s National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment is a tool that is being utilized by countries throughout the world to help accomplish international priorities outlined by the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. With so much at stake, we are honored to be a part of this effort to aid decision making and humanitarian assistance, and to help create a safer Guatemala,” said PDC’s Director of Disaster Services, Dr. Erin Hughey of the more-than-year-long collaborative project.

Guatemala’s national disaster management agency—CONRED—plays a vital role in the partnership with PDC, connecting stakeholders from private industry, academia, government, first response, and humanitarian assistance sectors in data collection and cooperative efforts countrywide. Working with PDC to combine information from across sectors into its powerful decision support system, DisasterAWARE, different ministries and stakeholders now have access to the same assessment data, all in one place, through a web-based interface that encourages information sharing and collaboration between agencies. The DisasterAWARE platform also visualizes assessment data to support quick decision making and provide tools for impact and loss estimation, risk evaluation, early warning, and global multi-hazard monitoring.

“There is a lot of information that we can work with, mixing it with the information provided by INFORM and other platforms in the region to improve and be more accurate not only about forecasts, but about where we can act and what resources are available everywhere,” said Paul Ugarte, CONRED Special Advisor to the Executive Secretary.

Further explaining the value of the program, Manolo Barillas, National Disaster Response Advisor of the United Nations System of Guatemala said, “I see it is going to be a very important tool for planning and response. In moments of response, we enable a situation room in the World Food Program office where we have all the technological equipment to analyze the situation and make decisions, and surely from now on, this PDC platform will be in our situation room.”

As PDC’s final workshop of the NDBPA with Guatemala comes to completion, both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding to continue their collaboration well into the future. Hazards will continue to advance along their natural path, and with new information and tools at the fingertips of decision makers, Guatemala will be able to develop plans of action that will have an even greater impact in protecting communities throughout the nation from disasters.

For more information about PDC and the National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment, visit www.pdc.org.

What our partners are saying about us...

Title Address Description
Kenta Hamasaki
Honolulu, HI, USATHE CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN, HONOLULU, HI (2016)

"Aloha Julie. Hello. After the registration [for DisasterAWARE], I started to receive warnings such as Typhoon Meranti. That data contains necessary info and is so graphic that it's easy to know at a glance how the impact is. This is very important for our duties. Thank you again."

Paulo Bayly
FijiPERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT, FIJI (2016)

"Thank you and your team for so quickly responding to our needs."

Ana Ake
TongaMINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, KINGDOM OF TONGA (2017)

"I was first introduced to EMOPS (DisasterAWARE)...during a HA/DR training in Auckland this year. I've worked with several tools and it is obvious that EMOPS is the only sustainable tool that is available and is openly available."

Jonathan Colwell
California, USAGOESPATIAL COORDINATOR, DHS-FEMA REGION 9 (2016)

"EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) made my day so much easier while monitoring [Tropical Cyclone] AMOS. Data that I thought I'd spend a good part of the morning digging for was available, as were the tools to draw polygons and annotate and meet the requirement."

John Andoe
Texas, USAEMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (2017)

“Keep up the good work. I'm using EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) in Texas to monitor Hurricane Harvey.”

Matt Lott
Virginia, USAEMERGENCY COORDINATOR OF SAFETY, SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (2016)

"I work for the Virginia DOT as an emergency planner. I would like to be added to your distribution list for awareness products. I followed work during Hurricane Mathew and would like to avail our organization of your great products."

USDA Foreign Agriculture Service officer
Washington, DC, USAUSDA (2016)

"Your suggestion that we look at PDC content and capabilities has really paid off. We partnered with them, and are ingesting their global disaster feeds into [Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System] GADAS. The addition of a couple of our own applications to quickly delineate impacted areas and extract agricultural acreage and population has proved quite valuable."

Christopher Vaughan
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

FEMA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION OFFICER (2015)

"My sincerest thanks to the PDC team during this event. [Tropical Cyclone Dolphin] Your professionalism and dedication to the mission is to be commended. I'm sure we will have plenty to discuss/improve upon in the weeks to follow. Thanks again for all the support. Great job team."

Daniel B. Whitley
1400 Independence Ave SW #5071, Washington, DC 20250, USAACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE (2017)

"On behalf of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services, I would like to express my appreciation and full support of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) for its essential contributions...with data and support...we've been able to improve our global agricultural production and disaster assessment analyses, products, and decision outcomes."

Jesse Rozelle
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USAPROGRAM MANAGER, NATURAL HAZARDS RISK ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, FEMA (2017)

"Aloha PDC team: I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for all of your support during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The modeling and risk assessment support you have provided to FEMA has been incredibly helpful for our response efforts and our emergency management partners. I'm looking forward to a continued partnership."

Lisa Samson on PDC products during hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Miami, FL, USA

ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISES & COALITION AFFAIRS, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"[I] wanted to pass along that the reports that PDC is generating are succinct and extremely informative. I've passed along to other colleagues in the HQs staff and other COCOMs to peak their interest. Well done!"

William I. Clark
9301 NW 33rd St, Doral, FL 33178, USA

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DIVISION CHIEF, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"Our success during response efforts is directly related to PDC's contribution. The set of tools offered by your decision support system (DisasterAWARE), the large amount of data, the modeling and assessments, and skill set of your staff are unique. They provide my team with great situational awareness in a timely manner, enabling rapid and informed decision making in critical periods."

Brian Abbott
Doral, FL, USALIEUTENANT COLONEL, PUBLIC-PRIVATE COOPERATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2016)

"As a Public-Private Cooperation (PPC) Program Coordinator, PDC's vision and leadership translates into strategies that enable others to effectively achieve results."

Gayle Outten-Moncour
The Bahamas

BAHAMAS DISASTER RECOVERY MANAGER AND FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Jeremy K. Delancy
Nassau, The Bahamas

SENIOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS (2016)

"I wanted [PDC] to know that I used DisasterAWARE during Hurricane Joaquin and it performed admirably. Some further training will be needed for us to use it to its full capabilities. One of the persons who was quite impressed is Chief Meteorological Officer, Mr. Arnold King."

Carolann Albury
E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas

DIRECTOR, BAHAMAS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (2017)

"…thank you all for the assistance you have rendered on so many occasions to The BNGISC but more importantly to The Bahamas."

Marcus Elten
New York, NY, USAUNITED NATIONS OCHA (2016)

"I was impressed with how quickly you guys developed situational awareness products...quite impressed with your team's work."

Claudia Mateo
Dominican RepublicPRESIDENT, REPUBLICA DOMINCANA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE ENERGÍA

"Thank you for being aware of our situation and for the sending of images for analysis."

Paul Ugarte
GuatemalaCONRED SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF GUATEMALA

Eric Yarrell
Comayagua, Honduras

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, JTF-BRAVO (2017)

"JTF-Bravo sincerely appreciated the HADR decision-support information provided by the Pacific Disaster Center during Hurricane Irma response… has been both timely and valuable support of current operations."

Augusto Moreno O'Phelan
PeruDIRECTOR GENERAL FOR POLICY AND STRATEGY, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, PERU (2016)

"Many thanks for your important information about the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas."

Mr. Eliezer Serrano, Jr.
Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilLEAD DATA FUSION MANAGER, U.S. SOUTHCOM JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER (2016)

PDC's support in the SOUTHCOM region and its commitment to promote public safety were unfailing during the Rio Olympics. [DisasterAWARE] greatly enhanced our situational awareness and offered an abundance of useful data and safety monitoring information."

Don Price
Myanmar (Burma)DISASTER MANAGEMENT ADVISOR, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, MYANMAR (2017)

"The big floods in Southern China are causing some real problems for Vietnam and Myanmar and DMRS/EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) is the best visualization for this regional flood situation."

Susan Cruz
PhilippinesDIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE (2015)

"We are very appreciative of your support to our country."

Giuseppe Timperio
21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119077RESEARCH ENGINEER, ADVANCED SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT & HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (2016)

"I knew of 'InAWARE' and I am impressed by its capabilities. Information sharing in the humanitarian context is still a big challenge (especially in ASEAN), and the efforts you are putting to close this gap are highly appreciated, and indeed highly useful for the whole humanitarian community."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Matraman, East Jakarta City, Jakarta 13120, Indonesia

HEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR INDONESIA'S NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AGENCY, BNPB

Harlan V. Hale
Banten, IndonesiaREGIONAL ADVISOR, USAID/DCHA/OFDA/EAP

"From a disaster management perspective, these agencies [PDC, HOT, PetaBencana.id] have combined their skills, have worked well together, and have created something that is really innovative, useful, and can actually improve both the disaster response by the government and citizen's participation in it as well."

Willem Rampangilei
Jl. Anyar No.12, RT.2/RW.1, Leuwinutug, Kec. Citeureup, Bogor, Jawa Barat 16810, IndonesiaCHIEF, BNPB

"As I mentioned when we met recently at BNPB HQ Jakarta, I want to extend my appreciation to you, to your colleagues at PDC, and to USAID/OFDA for your hard work and dedication – and for your tangible results – in building capabilities and capacities for disaster risk reduction in Indonesia, especially in the area of hazard monitoring and early warning."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
West Java, IndonesiaHEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, BNPB (2017)

"Thank you very much for your support in Mt Agung eruption. Very useful to us."