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Forecasting volcanoes

Preparing for disasters long before they strike rather than rescuing people afterwards

As thousands of people are moved in the evacuation of the area around the Taal volcano in the Philippines, Ecuador - which has more than 20 active volcanoes - is looking at how to protect people there.

A scientist based in Quito has designed a system to forecast dangerous activity. The Red Cross is working closely with him, so they can now warn people of potential disaster further in advance - giving a bigger time window in which to move themselves and livestock, and get medical backup in place.

It is part of a radical rethink in the way humanitarian aid is delivered, using forecasts to give people more warning and help them prepare before nature strikes. But funding a project like this means asking donors to donate cash to a disaster which may never happen.

Reporter Jo Mathys

(Photo credit: Red Cross)

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