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Success Stories

Since its founding in 2005, In Harm's Way has saved over tens of thousands of  lives that would have otherwise been lost in devastating natural disasters.

Julian Fretha, one of the In Harms Way team members with some of the children she saved.

Kelud Volcanic Eruption

On February 13th, 2014 giant eruption of Mount Kelud in densely populated Java Island occurred— but not before 201,228 people evacuated the area.  Evacuation plans and drills were conducted years prior by scientists collaborating with In Harms Way to prepare for the next eruption. Residents near the volcano assisted with creation of an evacuation plan and training. The eruption happened only 2 hours after the residents were advised to evacuate. The eruption totally destroyed at least 11,000 homes, but they were empty.  Only 7 lives were lost that day. 

Kelud Volcano, East Java, Indonesia

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Cherry Hill Elementary

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Ron and Patti at Cherry Hill Elementary

Dr. Ronald Harris gave a talk on seismic awareness and safety— a very common occurrence for him— but this time, it hit home for one parent, Patti Henwood.  Her search to discover how seismically safe the schools her children were attending led her to serve as the president of the local PTA.  She learned that Cherry Hill Elementary had all of the markers of poor seismic design.  Three years of neighborhood meetings, awareness campaigns, signs, and strategically placed fliers later, Alpine School District put school replacement due to earthquake risk as a priority above new school construction.  Today, thousands of children students have seismically safe schools to attend.

This success story is one of many associated with In Harm's Way and its work with local leaders to pass seismic safety referendums for schools. 

Negri Lima Dam Break

On July 2013, heavy rainfall caused may landslides, one of which dammed the river flowing into Negri Lima.  Julian Fretha, one of the members of In Harm's Way in Indonesia, recognized imminent danger of the situation thanks to the training she had received.  Along with youth volunteers, she was able to educate and organize the community, and conduct evacuation drills. When the news that the dam had failed arrived over 2,000 people evacuated to high ground during the 7 minutes it took for the 15-meter high wall of water to arrive at the city. 425 homes were completely destroyed. Only 7 lives were lost of the thousands that would have died. Julian is one of the board members of In Harms Way in eastern Indonesia.

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Oblique aerial view of what remains of the city of Negri Lima after the 2013 dam burst

Want to be a part of our next Success Story?

Get involved today! Whether it's on our research team or in a volunteer position, we have a position for you at In Harm's Way. Contact us to learn more.

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