LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Category Archives: Disaster

What Disaster Management Center did right and did not do right

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I was asked by a journalist from the Express Group to comment on the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Center’s use or non-use of available technological solutions, specifically some kind of VSAT facility in Padukka. I said I was not in a position to comment on this, but said I would comment their good use of […]

From Turkey, an idea for disaster response

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It was happenstance that New York Times commentator and US Academic of Turkish origin Zeynep Tufekci was in Turkey when the coup unfolded. Her reflections on the role played by the Internet and social media in defeating the coup are of great interest. But what caught my eye was a simple action mobile operators can […]

Insurance as a critical element in disaster response toolkit

People walk through a flooded road after they moved out from their houses in Biyagama, Sri Lanka May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

We have been kicking around the idea of giving insurance a greater role in disaster risk reduction and response since 2005. Just a few months back I raised the issue at a workshop at UN ESCAP. In an interview with a Sinhala newspaper last week, I said it was a pity we were not anchoring […]

Phase change in the response to Sri Lanka floods

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Our disaster-relief partner Sarvodaya organized a small event at the community center at Pahala Bomiriya to hand over the remainder of the relief supplies to affected families. I was invited to say a few words. I talked about the need to build more resilient communities so that we could respond to hazards better in the […]

LIRNEasia closes its flood donation drive

When the biggest disaster since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami hit close to home, we responded in our customary fashion. We asked for donations to be matched by LIRNEasia and we thought about how we could contribute through knowledge. We remitted the first tranche of cash to our partner, Sarvodaya on 19th May, just as […]

LIRNEasia research cited in SciDev piece on disaster communication

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Nalaka Gunawardene has published a piece in SciDev on the lessons from the floods/landslides. Nuwan Waidyanatha is in the Maldives at this moment advocating that they switch on cell broadcasting in the networks. In Sri Lanka, it’s on, but not used. The Colombo-based ICT research organisation LIRNEasia has also been promoting the use of cell […]

On Sri Lanka’s failure to deploy home-grown disaster-response software

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Sahana was developed by volunteer software engineers under the aegis of the Lanka Software Foundation in the months and years after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It was handed over to an international foundation when I served as Chair of LSF. Nuwan Waidyanatha who cut his teeth on disaster research as part of the Hazinfo […]

UN ESCAP report on Building E Resilience, authored by LIRNEasia

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The report, published in April 2016, covers a range of issues, but is perhaps unique in its emphasis on the potential of big data. This report highlighted some emerging technologies such as the use of Big Data for DRM purposes. It is one that is still being explored but has so far demonstrated immense potential. […]

What should disaster risk reduction priorities be?

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As promised, here is the full piece in FT on the lessons of the latest disaster: When citizens pay no heed to alerts, warnings and evacuation orders, the normal reaction is to blame the citizens or ponder the possibilities of forcible means. But what we learned through our research and from reflective practitioners is that […]

Lessons from the disaster

On May 14th that I retweeted a satellite image of a weather system over Sri Lanka. The tweet said “WEATHER ALERT – Severe rain over #LK will continue for next 24/48hrs. Public cautioned over flash floods & landslides.” The hazard was public knowledge, contrary to some claims now being made. WEATHER ALERT – Severe rain […]

Common Alerting Protocol and unintended good effects

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We started working on the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) back in 2005. Nuwan Waidyanatha was running workshops on CAP by mid 2006. We made mobile operators and software firms working with them aware of the value of CAP. Nuwan kept teaching how to use it all over the world. But with Nuwan moving to Kunming […]

LIRNEasia’s response to Sri Lanka floods and landslides

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Based on its longstanding relationship with Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organization, we have already remitted the first tranche of cash support (donations matched 100:50 by LIRNEasia) already used in urgent relief work (bottled water and dry rations) in four priority districts: Colombo, Gampaha, Kegalla and Puttalama. We trust that Sarvodaya is best positioned to […]

2015 Gorkha Earthquake: Evaluation of Nepal’s emergency communication systems

It was barely a month after LIRNEasia conducted a course on broadband policy and regulation in Nagarkot, that Nepal was affected by the Ghorka Earthquake. Our hearts went out for the people of Nepal who suffered from a series of tremblors, power and communication outages and many difficulties. We managed to convey some support for […]

World Meteorological Day 2016: Hotter, drier, wetter. Face the future

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As the world celebrates World Meteorological Day 2016 under the theme “Hotter, drier, wetter. Face the future”, 2011- 2015 is identified as the hottest period on record. Apart from heavy droughts, climate change is currently contributing to the increased risk of heavy rains and flood. Therefore, it is important to protect lives and property through […]

LIRNEasia at INET Kathmandu

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The Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific Bureau together with Internet Society Nepal Chapter organised INET Kathmandu from 17-18 March 2016. This event brought together international agencies, rapid response groups and local stakeholders involved in disaster planning, management and relief services.  LIRNEasia research study on the “Assessment of Nepal’s Internet and Telecommunication Damage and Losses: Lessons from the 2015 Earthquake” carried jointly by […]

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