Raymundo S. Punongbayan
The 2003 Sergey Soloviev Medal is awarded to Raymundo S. Punongbayan for his exceptional knowledge and skills in understanding explosive volcanic eruptions which led to the saving of thousands of lives during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
The Sergey Soloviev Award was given to Dr. Raymundo Punongbayan, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, for his exceptional research knowledge and skills in mitigating natural hazards involving volcanoes and earthquakes, and in helping to save thousands of lives during the explosive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. He, his staff, and American colleagues correctly forecasted the massive eruption, balancing the need not to panic people with premature and unnecessary evacuations with the need to remove people from the danger zone before the volcano exploded. Dr. Punongbayan’s skills in working with civil defence leaders, public works engineers, legislators, and the news media saved an estimated 10,000 lives. His experiences have also helped to influence disaster avoidance and mitigation in China, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Turkey.