Santorini, Greece is a major explosive volcano. The Santorini volcanic complex is composed of two active volcanoes—Nea Kameni and Mt. Columbo. Holocene eruptions have generated a variety of processes and deposits and eruption mechanisms pose significant hazards of various types. It has been recognized that, for major European volcanoes, few studies have focused on the social aspects of volcanic activity and little work has been conducted on public perceptions of hazard, risk and vulnerability. Such assessments are an important element of establishing public education programmes and developing volcano disaster management plans. We investigate perceptions of volcanic hazards on Santorini. We find that most residents know that Nea Kameni is active, but only 60% know that Mt. Columbo is active. Forty percent of residents fear that negative impacts on tourism will have the greatest effect on their community. In the event of an eruption, 43% of residents would try to evacuate the island by plane/ferry. Residents aged >50 have retained a memory of the effects of the last eruption at the island, whereas younger residents have no such knowledge. We find that dignitaries and municipal officers (those responsible for planning and managing disaster response) are informed about the history, hazards and effects of the volcanoes. However, there is no “emergency plan” for the island and there is confusion between various departments (Civil Defense, Fire, Police, etc.) about the emergency decision-making process. The resident population of Santorini is at high risk from the hazards associated with a future eruption.
- volcanic hazard