NH
Natural Hazards

Volcanic hazard

The CRED presents the bill: the socio-economic cost of natural disasters.

The CRED presents the bill: the socio-economic cost of natural disasters.

Which type of natural disaster is the most frequent? And which one causes the largest economic losses? Which populations are mainly affected? What are the necessary steps to reduce natural disasters’ impact? If you have ever wondered about any of these questions, you’d be interested to know that there is an institute answering all of them with a series of reports and ad hoc publications.

We are talking about the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The CRED is based, since 1973, at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and since 1980 it’s a collaborator of the World Health Organization (WHO). Their main goal? Study public health during a mass emergency as well as the structural and socio-economic impact of natural and technological disasters and human conflicts. They maintain the world’s most comprehensive database (EM-DAT) on occurrence and effects of technological and natural disasters from 1900 to the present day: more than 22,000 events and counting. [Read More]

The collapse of Anak Krakatau volcano: a scenario envisaged

The collapse of Anak Krakatau volcano: a scenario envisaged

Krakatoa or Krakatau, in Indonesia, is part of the Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage property, and among the most (in)famous volcanoes in the world. From a geological point of view, it is part of the Indonesian island arc system generated by the north-eastward subduction of the Indo-Australian plate (Figure 1). Krakatau is now a caldera type of volcano thanks to the 1883 eruption, one of the most destructive and deadliest volcanic events in historical records causing a total of around 36000 deaths[1, 2, 3]. During this event, up to the 70% of the original island was destroyed, leaving a caldera structure, a ‘bowl-shaped’ depression, leading to a tsunami hitting the coastlines of Java and Sumatra and conspicuous tephra falling over the nearby inhabited islands.

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The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

The devil in disguise: filmmaking lives under the threat of volcanoes.

Dear readers, today our blog will host Ryan Stone from Lambda Films. He will tell us his story and perspective behind the camera while documenting people’s lives constantly exposed to volcanic risk. If you want to get a quick taste of today’s content, just take a long breath and watch this video: https://www.lambdafilms.co.uk/video-production/an-eclipse/.

Ryan Stone is the co-founder & Creative Director of Lambda Films, a video production company and animation studio based in the UK.
Lambda Films have developed a specialism in storytelling and natural hazards; producing a variety of video and animation content to help educate vulnerable communities living with volcanic risk. These films have always been in collaboration with researchers, organisations and academics from across the globe.

 

Hello Ryan,  Please tell us about the aim and perspectives of a director involved in natural hazard films

When starting with any film project, we have to be clear about what are the objectives and who are the audience, and ensure everything we shoot supports those two considerations. In the case of our natural hazard films, we have to achieve a balance between imparting useful information for a non-scientific audience and keeping the audience engaged. (so that they can they learn.) We have to ensure both the information and visuals are pitched just right, as the viewers are most likely to be those at risk of future events.

Our first ever brief was simply a series of interviews, which provided the useful information but was lacking in engaging and varied visuals, so since, we have ensured all of our subsequent collaborations afford us enough time to film the interviews and shoot relevant lifestyle footage. This b-roll footage, whether it’s of the interviewee at work, or visiting the ruins of their former home, adds an extra depth to the narrative, keeping the visuals interesting and adding further impact to their words.

We try to keep the ‘actors’ (i.e. local people) at the front and centre of the films – essentially the stars of the show – whilst also recognising the extent to which the various locations, and the hazards themselves also play a major role in the films. This footage can both demonstrate the beauty and pressures of the natural environment, as well as some of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the communities that live with the risk of natural hazards.

As a director, you always have to consider the visual impact on the audience, and ensure shots look interesting, relevant and are able to support the, often sensitive and/or scientific content. Personal stories or scientific explanations can often be quite lengthy, so a director has to consider the production as a finished film, not just the individual scenes in isolation.

 

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The (un)usual suspect: how the environment affects human health.

If you have been regularly following our blog for this (almost) past year, you may have noticed that the field of natural hazards is coloured by many different shades. One more that I would like to present you today is about how the natural environment can affect human health.

It is a recognized fact that geo-materials can pose a threat to our health. One of the most striking examples is asbestos fibres, used industrially in large scale since the mid-19th century until discovered potentially harmful and finally declared carcinogenic. The field of research that addresses this interesting subject is medical geology, and to discover a bit more about it I interviewed Dr Ines Tomašek.

A photo portrait of Dr. Ines Tomašek

Dr. Ines Tomašek

 

Ines, a former PhD student at Durham University in the frame of the MSC ITN VERTIGO, is currently a post-doc at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and part of the International Medical Geology Association (IMGA). Her research focuses on the effect of volcanic eruptions on environmental and human health.

 

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