2005 April

“Hazards to Disasters the role of Electronic Communication,” by Rohan Samarajiva and Asantha Sirimanne is currently in session (April 29, 5.30PM). Rohan has circulated a paper titled Mobilizing information and communications technologies for effective supply of disaster warnings: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami. The paper is the basis for the discussion. Asantha will elaborate on the media aspects that flow out of the paper.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a debate raged in the US on the question of industrial policy; the proponents arguing that the government should pick sectors and “winners” and the opponents arguing that government bureaucrats were not in a position to do so and that the market should be allowed to take its course. One of the most effective methods of policy argumentation in the US is “we are falling behind [fill in the blank].” Those days, the country that was forging ahead of the US was Japan, in most cases (e.g., Fifth Generation Computing, High Definition Television) .
On being asked to identify what I thought were the key on-the-horizon policy issues, I came up with the following. It would be helpful to have a web discussion on this with the intention of coming up with a ranked list that may include new items. 1. I am even more convinced that the backbone is a critical hole in the original reform thinking. Its significance is highlighted by Korea’s success in broadband and everything ICT.
Rohan Samarajiva writes a monthly column on Choices for the Lanka Business Online. His second column titled Nanny State (March 15, 200) deals with the controversial 100/200 meter rule that the Sri Lankan government wants to impose on people living along the coast line, preventing them from building houses within 100/200 meters from the sea. The third column is titled BPOs or daha dahasak wewu? (April 20, 2005) discusses the realistic policy choices available to decision-makers for moving the Sri Lankan economy to a high trajectory growth-rate.
NEW DELHI, APRIL 13: The government is in the process of amending the Indian Telegraph Act to extend the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund support to cellular mobile services (both GSM and CDMA). As of today, the government is giving USO fund support to only the fixed line operators offering services in the rural areas. “We are looking at amending the Telegraph Act to accommodate the cellular services and CDMA-based services to reach the rural areas. We are looking at sharing of the passive infrastructure with the cellular service providers,” communications and information technology (C&IT) minister Dayanidhi Maran told reporters. Besides covering the villages, the minister is of the opinion that the wireless services should also provide connectivity to the Railways and highways especially in rural areas.
NEWS:SL was presented to Mano Tittawela, Chairman of TAFREN [Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation] yesterday (April 6 2005). Handing over Concept Paper; Tittawela, Samarajiva
On March 7th (I know, this is late; but as they say better late . . ), LIRNEasia had a full day of presentations and meetings at the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The main presentation by Rohan Samarajiva and Sujata Gamage and the related concept paper may be of interest. Other conversations covered disaster-related and other research collaboration possibilities.

Tsunami Lessons

Posted by on April 1, 2005  /  8 Comments

Ten preliminary lessons of the 28th March 2005 Sumatra great earthquake (Photo Source) LIRNEasia, together with Vanguard Foundation, intends to systematically analyze the Sri Lankan media response to the great earthquake of the 28th of March. However, it appears useful to draw some preliminary lessons from this tragedy which has cost over 1,000 lives, including the people of Nias and other islands and those in Sri Lanka and elsewhere who died as a result of the warnings. The conclusions are preliminary; comments are welcome. # Earthquake hazard detection is easy; tsunami hazard detection is not. One cannot simply infer the existence of a destructive tsunami from an earthquake.