Evaluating the crisis communications campaign during the 2020–21 eruption of La Soufrière, St Vincent

Paper by Lara Mani, Stacey Edwards, Erouscilla Joseph, Alia Juman, Thalia Thomas
Published on 20 July 2023


During the 2020–21 eruption of La Soufrière, St Vincent, the University of the West Indies, Seismic Research Centre played a major role in supporting communication of hazard and risk information to publics and stakeholders across St Vincent. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on in-person education and outreach activities, the communications campaign was heavily reliant on social media platforms, and TV and radio broadcasts. Although the communications approach sought to be inclusive of all members of the affected communities, we consider that more vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, children, and those with low literacy levels and limited digital access were likely excluded from the communication efforts.

In order to establish effectiveness of the crisis communications campaign at engaging communities and stakeholders with relevant information, and to identify areas for improvement, a large-scale evaluation campaign was conducted in St Vincent in August 2021. The results demonstrate that radio broadcasts are the most important communication tool for broad community reach, but that person-to-person information sharing was more important in the most exposed communities. Agencies such as the Red Cross and grassroots community disaster preparedness groups were instrumental in amplifying the reach of information to vulnerable members of at-risk communities and for evacuation co-ordination.

Read full paper

Subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates