We recently published a technical brief: Livestock Emergency Preparedness and Response for Areas at High Risk of Volcanic Eruptions, produced in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. We asked the brief’s author, Gerardo Huertas, to provide an overview of the brief and share his thoughts on its significance.
I recently finished working for and with LEGS and FAO on adapting LEGS’ well-established, livelihoods-based approach to protecting livestock and communities living near active or awakening volcanoes.
Volcanoes resemble titans, dormant under deceptively luscious and fertile lands, ideal for agriculture and farm animals. Getting folks and their livestock ready for the time when these giants wake up with a bad temper is both an art and science.
Having been actively involved in volcano emergencies in three continents, this is a subject close to my heart. I experienced firsthand the long-term effects of volcanic ash in the eyes and lungs, while evacuating pets and livestock away from danger.
The new document is the natural evolution of LEGS as the method of choice when the time comes to working with rural communities to protect their livelihoods based on livestock.
The contents include:
- the well-proven and tested LEGS approaches adapted to volcano contexts,
- detailed characterisations recently completed by FAO of vulnerable communities in Indonesia and the Philippines, and
- insights and lessons learned from dozens of eruption operations in Latin America, The Caribbean, and Africa, obtained in the last four decades by my colleagues and teams.
The uniqueness of this new tool is the adaptation of existing knowledge on volcanic eruption to the livestock sector and needs, all under the LEGS approach, and the hope — and challenge — is now to make both available and user-friendly to livestock keepers in Southeast Asia and South America.
Author: Gerardo Huertas, M.Sc. Biol.