Nuwan Waidyanatha


“Panic and chaos are inherent in crises. During the critical golden 72 hours the public need ICTs to mitigate the panic but we are still ten years behind and have forgotten history” – says Mr. Naveed Haq. Progress towards resilient ICTs for emergency communication and crisis response remains poor in Asia and the Pacific. The APrIGF “Cry for Help” – “Rapid Restoration of Access to Telecommunication” (RREACT) was designed to engage the audience and a set of experts in discussing issues and strategies for empowering communities with ICT resilience in support of emergencies and crises.
The two-day workshop (Oct 17 & 18, 2016) in Moratuwa, invited Sarvodaya members from Batticaloa, Colombo, Gampaha, and Kegalle Districts. These participants have first-hand experience responding to the 2016 Western floods & landslide and the 2015 Northeast floods, in Sri Lanka. The objective was to share their tacit knowledge on taking a holistic and practical approach to responding to crises. Then give them the tools to analyze the experience to develop the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) themselves. To that end, we applied community engagement social practices methods for analyzing the knowledge to realize the design parameters for developing the Sarvodaya Disaster Response SOP.
There was a popular emphasis on social media at INET Kathmandu. An entire session and an entire panel discussion was on the topic with various speakers telling their story. However, everyone realized the need for a robust internet for such platforms to work. While SMS was most effective during Nepal’s Earthquake response, data and voice were unstable. The use of social media during Nepal’s earthquake response came alive when other systems failed.
I was invited to share my research with Stockholm Environment Institute Asia office in Bangkok. The intention was for SEI-Asia Researchers to possibly identify any areas for collaboration. I themed my talk on “ICT4D action research in Early Warning Systems”. It has been 10 years since I first began my research work in December of 2005. It was important to first establish an abstract definition of an EWS.
Government of Nepal, mostly under the leadership of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, is on a mission to strengthen their national emergency communications. They are facilitating a multi-agency approach to promoting the development of a National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). Members of the Nepal Emergency Telecommunications Cluster are contributing to the NECP. The Emergency telecommunications Cluster was formed after the earthquake to bring back communications in support of humanitarian operations (ISOC Nepal attended those meetings). The Government of Nepal has recognized the importance of ICT as a cross-cutting issue in emergency communications for saving lives.
Today the research team had an opportunity to present findings from our work at a research colloquium hosted by the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. Here, Chandana Jayathilake is describing the campaigns conducted as part of the project. Original post at: http://mobilizingknowledge.blogspot.ca/2015/03/presentation-at-university-of-alberta.
A Freedom fone (FF) workshop was conducted on 28 Jan 2015 at Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. The purpose was to train the staff of Department of Export Agriculture (DOEA), who has been working with us to promote the campaign Original post is at: http://mobilizingknowledge.blogspot.ca/2015/02/a-training-workshop-on-interactive.html
It was not all sunshine and fare weather that greeted us on the December 26th this year in Sri Lanka. Instead a country in a crisis dealing with the continuous week long rains washing away sides of hills and flooding (copy of Dec 26th landslide and flood warnings issued by DMC). While we were at the Hambantota exhibition, there was uncertainty in being cut-off from Colombo with flash floods crossing roads in various E/A/B network. Had the rains continued on the 26th we may have been stranded or had great difficulty returning to Colombo. An incident or situational map, like Google’s Alerthub, would have been informative in comforting the uncertainties.
Dr. Gordon Gow is Associate Professor in Communication and Technology, University of Alberta delivered a speech “Stewarding Technology for Inclusive Innovation,” at the SSHRC Success Stories 2014 event
The Sri Lanka Department of Export Agriculture (DOEA) sponsored two campaigns in the Kurunegala district, with ginger farmers in the north area and pepper farmers in the south area. Both campaigns were intended to improve the efficiency and timeliness of communication between DOEA extension officers and local farmers. Both campaigns used text messaging and both showed that there was interest from farmers in this form of communication, despite challenges with using text messaging on their phones. Many of the older generation farmers said they needed help to use text messaging but found the information useful. They asked for a voice-based system to complement the SMS system.
Join us at the CAP Code-fest REGISTER NOW   IT Industry teaming with Emergency Management Experts to experimentaly develop exciting warning/alerting software solutions. ANYONE CAN JOIN the CAP Code-fest and it is Free to Attend. Experiment with interchanging warning/alerting information with disparate software solutions and then build new interfaces between them. Play with various domain specific software designs, XML-based interoperable data structure, information interchanging Application Programming Interfaces (OData APIs), Databases, or simply be a Lurker and give a helping hand with researching concepts. A fun activity with outcomes expected to contribute towards IT tools in SAVING LIVES.
JOIN US IN SRI LANKA – Indian Ocean Tsunami 10th Year Anniversary (IOTX) – CAP WORKSHOP DOWNLOAD THE CAP WORKSHOP FLYER These are exciting times for alerting enabled by the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard (ITU-T Recommendation X.1303), especially as major online media and technology companies continue their support and promotion of CAP. One theme is the emergent support for CAP-enabled alerting through advertising by online media. In that vein, we expect this Workshop will discuss the development of harmonized design guidelines for such emergency alerting, perhaps including aspects such as colours, fonts, languages, and sets of symbols. Earthquake and volcano alerting are also expected to be Workshop topics, as well as updates on progress for some of the many CAP implementations already in production and others in active development.
Born2Build is a group of enthusiastic 11year olds competing in a First LEGO League Robotics competition. The 2013 topic is “Nature’s Fury” – “children ages 9 to 16 from over 70 countries will explore the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and more that we call natural disasters. Teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work, and play.” Description of their challenge – One of the biggest challenges disaster relief teams face is finding and keeping track of people. When a natural disaster strikes, the rescue workers face many challenges.
It all triggered when Dr. Alvin Marcelo, a long standing friend and fellow e-Health Researcher, sent me an email asking whether we could activate Sahana to assist them. These where his first words, “How unlucky can we be — in just a matter of weeks, we have another disaster“ Since then, Sahana volunteers have put in hundreds of hours setting up the system, doing data import and cleansing, and working with contacts to prepare a system that will be of use.  We need to raise money in order to sustain these efforts and to cover the costs we have already committed for hosting and development. Sahana fund raising campaign on Razoo A brief update and summary on our activities to support relief operations for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and to ask for your assistance.
MapBox has released its JavaScript code for the public to use in visualizing the recent Moore tornado impact. Simply slide your mouse over the area in the map below. Exerpt from mapbox blog – “Thanks to open aerial imagery provided by the U.S. Government and our MapBox.
“In a recent article on BBC Future, Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Internet Law at Harvard University, promotes the need for a network that works independently of the ones owned and controlled by the network operators and only in an emergency – something called a mesh network.” – FULL STORY