Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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People living near Sakurajima volcano, Japan are exposed to frequent ashfall. This study, a survey of 749 residents, assessed how this apparently normalised experience affects residents’ perceptions of health impacts, and whether it is important to protect themselves from ash inhalation.

Only 6% of respondents thought it was not important to protect themselves, and path analysis showed that protection was particularly important to older people and those with existing respiratory disease, who were more likely to rate ash as harmful or associate symptoms with exposures. Therefore, some of the most vulnerable sectors of this community are adversely impacted by ash.

Despite the local government recommending protective measures, most respondents said they had not received advice, but would like to. They took actions that they thought were effective (keeping windows/doors closed) or were easily available (wearing surgical masks).

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