About 100,000 people have died from volcanic eruptions in the past 100 years, including about 30,000 in the past 50 years. Many of these deaths could have been prevented through timely warnings of ensuing volanic activity.
Within the past decade, timely warnings have allowed at least as many lives to be saved as lost and possibly 2 or 3 times more, we estimate. During the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, only 57 lives were lost and several thousand were protected. During the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, between 200 and 300 lives were lost, while at least 10,000 and perhaps as many as 25,000 were saved.