Day_64 : 1985 Nevado del Ruiz Volcano Eruption

One of the most significant volcano disaster we must know is 1985 Nevado del Ruiz volcano eruption. Approx.23000 citizens in Armero city were dead. The cultural aspects were embedded in this disaster. The disaster was predicted. The hazard maps indicated the city would be affected by the volcano eruption and lahars. The both, priest and mayor, told the citizens to stay in the same place because they were afraid of panic before the time, did not tell them to evacuate. That made tragedy. The people in the city tended to follow the both persons because of the culture, a religious and vertically‐structured society. There were also other factors*.



Day_57 : Normalcy Bias

We tend not to admit unusual situation. This is the crucial point for disaster risk reduction. In Japan, there are so many true stories about the bias as follows:

So many victims told me “I thought I was ok, that thing (Fooding) would never happen to me, ” even if their neighbors were already affected.                                         – Researchers Note-

The very insightful information was found from the following site:

The followings are from the above Gerold Blog:
C) When Mount St. Helens volcano began rumbling in Washington State in 1980, Park Rangers issued warnings for resident to leave and blocked access to keep people out. Some residents ignored evacuation warnings and other campers and sightseers walked or drove around the barricades to get into the park. They’d always camped there and since there had never been a disaster before; their normalcy bias prevented them from understanding the possibility of one happening. Then the volcano violently erupted and 57 people were killed.

D) Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, inadequate preparation by both governments and citizens as well as constant denials that the levees could fail are an example of normalcy bias as were the thousands of people who refused to evacuate. After the hurricane, many of the Louisiana Super dome refugees were unable to cope with the disaster. Many people couldn’t understand that a hurricane could devastate their city and, unable to help themselves, they waited in vain for government help that never came as murders and rapes escalated, sewers backed up, and food and water ran out. Normalcy bias left them unable to deal with the disaster.”