Natural Hazards

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 1281–1295 | Cite as

Volcanic risk perception in northern Chiapas, Mexico

  • Frances Rodríguez-VanGort
  • David A. Novelo-Casanova
Original Paper


The eruptions of El Chichón volcano on March–April 1982 impacted at least 51 communities located in the surroundings of the volcano causing the death of about 2,000 people in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. In this work, we evaluate the risk perception in five of these communities: Juárez, Ostuacán, Pichucalco, Reforma, and Sunuapa. Our results indicate that (1) people perceive very low volcanic risk; (2) about 95 % of the population do not know the current activity of the volcano and consider that the authorities do not inform properly about these issues to their communities; (3) the response of the authorities is considered deficient mainly because it was unable to provide enough shelters, storage facilities, food, medicine, and health care during the eruption; and (4) approximately 70 % of the population will not accept to be relocated in case of another eruption because they do not know any plan, strategy, emergency schemes, shelter locations, or evacuation routes. These results are important because according to the local state government, more than 100,000 people will be directly impacted in case of the occurrence of a similar eruption to the one in 1982. Perception of risk plays an important role for developing mitigation and response plans in this region. Thus, the level of volcanic risk perception is an important element of the existing social vulnerability of the five studied communities.


Risk perception Volcanic risk Vulnerability El Chichón volcano Chiapas, Mexico 



The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful review of this paper and providing helpful comments. Our appreciation to the people of the communities of Juárez, Ostuacán, Pichucalco, Reforma, and Sunuapa that made this study possible and who kindly provided their expertise and time. This work was supported by the Territorial Ecologic Management Project (POET) for the five municipalities of the NW of Chiapas, Mexico, financed by the Government of the state of Chiapas. Also, the project received grants of the Program to Support Research Projects and Technology Innovation of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM; PAPIIT Project No. IN118614).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances Rodríguez-VanGort
    • 1
  • David A. Novelo-Casanova
    • 2
  1. 1.Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra, Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Sismología, Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico

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