Volunteer teams descended on Cumbrae earlier this month for a fictional volcanic eruption response.

MapAction brought together staff, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders to hold a three-day exercise to simulate an emergency response to the disaster.

The exercise, dubbed Gilded Unicorn, gave staff and volunteers the chance to react to an ever-changing situation on the spot.

A MapAction spokesperson said: “The objective is to strengthen the whole organisation’s disaster preparedness; to ensure MapAction is as ready as it can be for the next emergency response.

“This year’s scenario envisaged a volcanic eruption on the fictional island of Ranas in the fictional country of Scotia.

“The scenario, partly designed around the local geography, accessibility and geological features, imagined that the local disaster relief network has requested MapAction’s presence, five days after the eruption, to map the disaster landscape and to help inform the decision-making process – to help save lives.

“Volunteers play themselves in the simulation but several MapAction staff members assume roles for the exercise, such as the governor of the affected region, an environmental officer and a hostile journalist.

“The volunteers, many of whom work for leading GIS, AI, humanitarian or tech companies, were split into five teams, each with their own tasks and deadlines.

“Volunteers are only given the basic context and details of the scenario the day they arrive to ensure the simulation feels as real as possible.

“In many emergency responses, a MapAction team will arrive in a rapidly unfolding and fluid situation in the affected country and will have to set-up and adapt fast to needs.”