The main advantage of modern technologies and innovative solutions used by the US is that they allow the state to inform populations on time and prevent mass destructions. The eruptions not only vary in their style and power, but also in their effects and interaction with the natural and the human environment. Each eruption thus has a different scientific and social significance, which gives a major added dimension to the study of volcanoes. Earth scientists must clearly communicate their predictions to local administrators and politicians and try to ensure that they act upon them. Unfortunately, they share neither the same perspectives, nor understanding of the subtleties of each other’s problems.
The authorities dislike the panic and disorders that a large-scale evacuation of population would almost inevitably entail; they also fully realize that they will be blamed for any miscalculations. Earth scientists, on the other hand, very rarely suffer the wrath of the voters. Three quarters of the world’s dangerous volcanoes are situated in poor countries which may prefer to spend limited resources on famine relief, disease prevention, or flood hazards rather than on monitoring volcanoes that may not be perceived as dangerous in the short term. In regions with active volcanoes, authorities believe in predictions and take immediate actions for evacuations.
Political, economic and social factors influence the ability of a state to react to predictions and support populations. In the US and Japan, there are special services aimed to support populations. In third world countries, lack of financial resources and social support, the government and local authorities are inactive during eruptions relying on foreign aid and support. All those who live on or near an active volcano are making a volcanic prediction. They may not think about it in those terms, but they balance the benefits of staying near a volcano against the chances of losing their lives or jobs.
They predict that they, and their property will survive. If, however, they live on materials erupted from an active volcano, they run the risk that a similar eruption will overwhelm them in the future. The longer their homes are spared, the more confident the people will become that they are safe-and the more likely it is, in fact, that they will be proved wrong, because active volcanoes that have been quiet for a long time have a way of breaking their silence by cataclysmic explosions with little warning. But it is hard to predict when an eruption will take place, to assess its likely power, and to calculate the risks facing the local population.