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Leveraging lessons learned to prevent future disasters - insights from the 2013 Colombia-US binational exchange

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Author(s): Carolyn L. Driedger, Marta Calvache, Gloria P. Cortes, John W. Ewert, Jacqueline Montoya, Andrew B. Lockhart, Robert H. Allen, Dan C. Banks, Scott R. Beason, Harold T. Bocanegra, Frances Burkhart, Kyle D. Bustad, Jaime A. Gallego, Zane D. Gibson, Felix R. Giraldo, Cesar Gutierrez, Jorge I. Quintero, Eduardo Rodriguez, John D. Schelling, Marci R. Scott

Document Type:
Publisher: Journal of Applied Volcanology
Published Year: 2020
Volume: 9
Number: 3
Pages: 21
DOI Identifier: 10.1186/s13617-019-0090-8
ISBN Identifier:
Keywords: Mount Rainier Mount Baker Nevado del Ruiz Lahar Mitigation Education Training Emergency management Experiential learning, Community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR)

In 2013, scientists implemented a binational exchange for emergency planners and responders in communities near Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia and volcanoes of the Cascade Range of the United States (US). This program was designed to promote understanding of volcanic disasters and effective mitigation options, motivate participants to strengthen emergency planning efforts, and promote trust-building among participants. The 2013 Binational Exchange was funded by the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP), a joint U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)—U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program.

During a week-long visit to Colombian emergency response agencies, Nevado del Ruiz, and lahar-destroyed ruins of the city of Armero and the region of Viejo Rio Claro, US participants became familiar with Colombian counterparts who have had recent and frequent experiences addressing volcanic crises. Aging survivors and authorities of the Nevado del Ruiz catastrophe of 1985 gave participants first-hand accounts, and ideas for improved preparedness and response. While in the US, Colombian participants observed emergency response capabilities and facilities, and received training in systems of incident command. Colombians made presentations to the US public and officials about the similarities of lahar risks in both nations.

This article describes the 2013 Binational Exchange as an experiential learning event and uses results of post-exchange discussions and interviews as evidence of steps achieved within the learning process. Six years hence, this article provides examples of progress with volcano hazards mitigation in both nations. The article offers the binational exchange model as an effective tool that employs both experiential learning and socialization of participants to create a highly motivating and effective learning environment.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Driedger and others (2020) or (Driedger et al., 2020)

References Citation:
Driedger, C.L., M. Calvache, G.P. Cortes, J.W. Ewert, J. Montoya, A.B. Lockhart, R.H. Allen, D.C. Banks, S.R. Beason, H.T. Bocanegra, F. Burkhart, K.D. Bustad, J.A. Gallego, Z.D. Gibson, F.R. Giraldo, C. Gutierrez, J.I. Quintero, E. Rodriguez, J.D. Schelling, and M.R. Scott, 2020, Leveraging lessons learned to prevent future disasters - insights from the 2013 Colombia-US binational exchange: Journal of Applied Volcanology, Vol. 9, No. 3, 21 p., doi: 10.1186/s13617-019-0090-8.