“Hazards in Minutes” YouTube videos by UP Scientist Mahar Lagmay help push Taal Volcano facts on social media

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UP Scientist Mahar Lagmay
Mahar Lagmay’s animated explanations of Taal Volcano hazards are free to download on YouTube. Screengrab from FYT video interview of Mahar Lagmay.

“Hazards in Minutes”, a series of animated infographics about the Taal Volcano eruption drawn and posted on Twitter and Facebook by University of the Philippines (UP) Scientist Mahar Lagmay, are now also available with higher resolution images and offered free to download on YouTube.

Lagmay, a disaster scientist and professor at the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences, first released 12 animated explanations in videos immediately following the Taal Volcano eruption on January 12, 2020, which sent up plumes of ash that fell over Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna, and parts of Metro Manila.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the Alert Level to 4 and recommended the evacuation of areas within the immediate vicinity of the volcano which was deemed showing signs of a more violent explosion.

Phivolcs went on national media to explain what the alert level meant and why people should be vigilant. Social media users picked up on the scientific explanations given by the experts and asked for clearer and more understandable terms to be used in the media briefings.

Within days of the eruption, Lagmay who is listed in Twitter’s Top 100 Scientists, decided to create simple animated drawings of what the scientific terms meant and posted them on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The resulting videos were well-received by netizens, teachers, students, and experts alike for their clarity.

Taal Volcano Alert Level has since been brought down a notch to 3 – still necessitating vigilance from the public – and the Executive Director of the UP Resilience Institute has continued to release videos of what he now terms as “Hazards in Minutes”.

Free to download YouTube Videos

On February 11, Mahar Lagmay uploaded 11 of his “Hazards in Minutes” animated infographics on his YouTube channel.

Asked why he decided to post on YouTube, Lagmay told GoodNewsPilipinas.com that the reason is to get the higher resolution images readily available to the public so they can be used for teaching.

Since Twitter and Facebook resamples the images to lower resolution files, Lagmay says the fact that YouTube videos can be downloaded at full resolution would be preferable.

The UP scientist who draws the infographics on his iPad when he has free time at home says the YouTube playlist “also allows me to organize the infographics to tell a story to get the important messages across. Needless to say, YouTube is a popular platform to educate, highly accessible and easy to use.”

The geologist-volcanologist says he posted the YouTube videos as Open Data Infographics that can be used and built on by anyone. Lagmay expresses the wish to have the videos used for teaching people in communities, especially students.

“They can learn about different hazards in one minute or less video presentations. Since hazards can kill by surprise in a matter of minutes, I would call the infographics ‘Hazards in minutes’. Later, there will be infographics on how to prepare against these hazards,” Lagmay shared.

Mahar Lagmay’s “Hazards in Minutes” have been used in a FYT video report by broadcast journalist Atom Araullo.

“That is what I mean by anyone can build on it and be creative about it to be effective in educating people about hazards,” says Mahar Lagmay who also appears on Araullo’s report.

Mahar Lagmay leads the UP Resilience Institute and is tasked by the state university to lead efforts in disaster response, including at the Mindanao earthquake of 2019 and the Taal Volcano UP community aid. Lagmay is also leading UP efforts to help Manila develop into a disaster-resilient city.

The University of the Philippines also recently opened its portal on Taal Volcano data to help in disaster preparedness, the first in Asia to offer such open data policy.

SUBSCRIBE to Mahar Lagmay’s YouTube channel for more “Hazards in Minutes” and SEND THANKS in the comments below to the UP community for their open data policy to help in disaster management!

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