Volcanic disasters can be greatly ameliorated. Study of a volcano's past, monitoring of its present, and interpretation of its processes help volcanologists to anticipate eruptions. When coupled with the public discussion of hazards, and cooperation from community leaders, these studies can demonstrably avert volcanic disasters. Such prevention is clearly in the national interest of volcanic countries, because the economic and social effects of volcanic disaster are profound. Volcanic hazard mitigation is a long term effort. A network of committed people at the local level is critical for success in this effort. The Santa María Workshop has demonstrated great international interest and a network of good will for helping with this effort--but the real work must come from Guatemala.
Unanimous recommendations of the Workshop
*A sustained local commitment over a number of years is needed to provide advanced training for Guatemalan personnel. Advanced training of specialists is vital to develop key personnel who can lead and maintain continuous monitoring and hazard awareness from the local perspective.
*These trained people must receive the effective support of Guatemala (jeeps, gasoline, per diem, salary). If this support is not consistent, international collaboration will be extremely limited.
*Support of the lead organizations assigned responsibility for mitigation must have a high national priority to make continuous data collection possible and to retain the best people in their jobs.
*Collaboration between various Guatemalan agencies (INSIVUMEH, CONE, Universities, etc.) who can help put together the best mitigation effort should be strengthened and encouraged.
*Acknowledging the progress reached by Guatemala in the areas of both volcanology and seismology as a result of support by CEPREDENAC over the past 3 years, we recommend that CEPREDENAC fund a volcano surveillance program for the region and that this should be used to help support volcano surveillance at Santa María. We recommend that both instrumentation and training be components of the program.