It was seven years to this coming January that we launched our Last Mile HazInfo project, just one year after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It’s good to know that the project is still talked about. We are beginning work on a Tsunami + 10 initiative that will assess the impacts of post-tusnami.
LIRNEasia also brought the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to Sri Lanka. This software allows messages to be channelled through multiple media so that duplicate messages relayed through other means, such as radio or the Internet, can function as a backup in case mobile phones fail. The first multilingual applications of CAP were developed for the project.
Today, thousands of communities have emergency committees, and Sri Lanka’s mobile networks are fully capable of issuing warnings through cell broadcasting, Samarajiva says. False alarms, where indicators incorrectly predicted tsunamis, have also provided opportunities to troubleshoot and fine-tune the system.
Perhaps more importantly, the research has influenced government and organizations such as Sarvodaya to “shift their thinking from a response perspective to a prevention perspective,” Samarajiva says. Some of the lessons from the project have also been applied to research on developing systems to deal with epidemics.