RPI Short Report: Cities on Volcanoes 9 Conference and a Summary of Impacts from the 2015 Calbuco Eruption

Volcanic eruptions are powerful natural events which impact strongly on society. As human populations grow and expand into volcanically active areas, their exposure and vulnerability to volcanic hazards is also increasing. This report summarises a trip taken to Chile in November 2016 by Dr John Wardman to attend the ninth Cities on Volcanoes Conference (COV 9) and participate in impact assessment fieldwork following the 22 April 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano. Fruitful discussions held with the world’s leading volcano scientists suggest that there is a lack of insurance in the area of volcanic risk, despite there being significant exposures to a large event. Following COV 9, Dr Wardman joined an international team of researchers to study the impacts to critical infrastructure and primary production from the 2015 Calbuco eruption. While ashfall impacts were minimal, lahars on the north and southern flanks of the volcano caused disruption to electricity supply, telecommunications, road networks, aviation, and local aquaculture and agriculture operations. Despite the complexities involved, there remains a need for quantitative volcanic risk assessment to better inform loss models with applicable to the re/insurance industry.