Dear Vulcanospeleologists and Friends,

the Organizing Committee of the 19th International Symposium on Volcano Speleology, convened a video conference at the beginning of April and noted the spread of the COVID19 pandemic all over the world.

Events over the last month or two have changed the lives of millions of people for ever. Tens of thousands of people have died, millions of people have lost their jobs, and even if they still have a job, they may not be at work at present and may not be earning any income. Many businesses have closed, perhaps permanently.

It is general belief that even if Italy and particularly Sicily will exit from the most critical phase before the Northern Hemisphere Summer, it will be difficult for most participants to travel freely from their country of residence to Italy and vice versa. It is also understandable that those who have suffered economic damage from the pandemic will have greater difficulties facing the long journey to come to Catania. In this global background, the preparation for ISV19 seems an activity of minor importance even to those who worked to organize it over the last two years.

The Organizing Committee had earlier decided to wait until the end of June 2020 to take a decision on cancellation or postponement of the Symposium but the evolution of the situation in the world, forced it to bring forward that decision in order to limit the economic impact on participants. Therefore, the Organizing Committee, having also heard the opinion of the UIS Commission on Volcanic Caves, decided not to continue with the symposium scheduled for August-September of this year and to postpone it to the same period of the following year.

The 19th Symposium on Volcanic Caves thus will be held in Catania from August 28th 2021 to September 3rd 2021. The following excursion to Aeolian Island is scheduled from September 4th 2021 to September 9th 2021. The Symposium organizers will send an email to all participants that are registered and pre-registered informing them of the postponement and also communicating how to request the return of any sums already paid. Unfortunately, they have to inform registrants that it is not possible to refund of 100% of the amount they have paid because of paypal/bank transfer commissions.

For those who wish, it will be possible not to request a refund and consider the amount already paid as the participation fee of the 2021 Symposium (no increase will be required). The Organizing Committee is really sorry to have to communicate this news to you, but assures you that it will work to prepare an even more beautiful Symposium for 2021 Summer than that planned for this year. Your appointment with Catania and Sicily is only postponed for a year.

Sincerely Carmelo Bucolo

on behalf of the ISV19 Organizing Committee