Thirteen parties face criminal charges in the wake of the 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption. Among them is a research organisation, which underlines the perils of natural hazard risk communication.
One of the lessons we must take from the Whakaari tragedy is the cumulative nature of risk. Repeated visits to the volcanic island by tour guides placed them near unacceptable risk limits.
Charges regarding last year’s fatal Whakaari/White Island eruption should not be about blame, but about improving hazard warnings and enforcement, particularly for sites with a history of eruptions.