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Volcano Disaster Assistance Program: Celebrating 30 Years of Saving Lives

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There are approximately 1,500 potentially active volcanoes around the world and only one international volcano response team that can deploy to help prevent eruptions from becoming disasters: the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), now celebrating 30 years of providing technical assistance worldwide. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and the U.S. Geological Survey established VDAP in 1986 in response to the tragic eruption of Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Colombia, which killed more than 23,000 people from volcanic mudflows.

With more than $33 million of USAID/OFDA support, VDAP scientific teams have deployed in response to 30 major crises, assisted counterparts with hundreds of additional volcanic events, and strengthened response capacity in 12 countries since the program began. At the request of affected governments, VDAP helps fellow scientists monitor volcanic activity, assess hazards, generate eruption forecasts, and develop early warning capabilities to get people out of harm’s way. To mark this milestone anniversary, we’re highlighting some of the major responses that demonstrate how VDAP has helped save tens of thousands of lives over the past 30 years.

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