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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 747–760, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-747-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Approaches to hazard evaluation, mapping, and mitigation

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 747–760, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-747-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  14 Apr 2010

14 Apr 2010

The Variable Scale Evacuation Model (VSEM): a new tool for simulating massive evacuation processes during volcanic crises

J. M. Marrero1, A. García1, A. Llinares2, J. A. Rodríguez-Losada2, and R. Ortiz1 J. M. Marrero et al.
  • 1Department of Volcanology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC. J. Gutierrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
  • 2Department of Soils Science and Geology, University of La Laguna, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Abstract. Volcanic eruptions are among the most awesome and powerful displays of nature's force, constituting a major natural hazard for society (a single eruption can claim thousands of lives in an instant). Consequently, assessment and management of volcanic risk have become critically important goals of modern volcanology. Over recent years, numerous tools have been developed to evaluate volcanic risk and support volcanic crisis management: probabilistic analysis of future eruptions, hazard and risk maps, event trees, etc. However, there has been little improvement in the tools that may help Civil Defense officials to prepare Emergency Plans. Here we present a new tool for simulating massive evacuation processes during volcanic crisis: the Variable Scale Evacuation Model (VSEM). The main objective of the VSEM software is to optimize the evacuation process of Emergency Plans during volcanic crisis. For this, the VSEM allows the simulation of an evacuation considering different strategies depending on diverse impact scenarios. VSEM is able to calculate the required time for the complete evacuation taking into account diverse evacuation scenarios (number and type of population, infrastructure, road network, etc.) and to detect high-risk or "blackspots" of the road network. The program is versatile and can work at different scales, thus being capable of simulating the evacuation of small villages as well as huge cities.

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