community-based last-mile warning systems


The design of the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program pilot (termed as the m-Health project) and findings from the Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination pilot (termed as the HazInfo projects) involvoing the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) were presented, yesterday, at the CAP Implementers Workshop organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). First Talk – The m-Health RTBP will be evaluating CAP or EDXL (Emergency Data Exchange Language) as means for disseminating health risk information to local health officials and community health care workers. Currently, the National Epidemiology Unit, in Sri Lanka, publishes a “Weekly Epidemiological Report” on the world wide web, a pdf file that can only be viewed on a personal computer. Paper copies of the same are delivered via postal mail to the relevant health officials. The latency in gathering the epidemiological data, analyzing, publishing, and disseminating is delayed as much as up to 3 weeks.
On Monday, November 19th, Rohan Samarajiva, Nuwan Waidyanatha, and Natasha Udu-gama of LIRNEasia, along with Menake Wijesinghe of Sarvodaya‘s Community Disaster Management Centre went to New Delhi, India for the second in a series of workshops on the “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) entitled “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-Based Last-Mile Warning Systems” at the India Habitat Centre in conjunction with the All India Disaster Management Centre (AIDMI). The workshop included a variety of stakeholders from Indian government, civil society, international organizations, private sector, and NGOs. Mr. Mihir Bhatt, Honorary Director of AIDMI, along with Mr. Mehul Pandya, Risk Reduction Transfer Initiative Coordinator and Ms.
On October 25, 2007, LIRNEasia’s Rohan Samarajiva, Nuwan Waidyanatha and Natasha Udu-gama traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh to present findings from the “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) pilot project in the first international dissemination workshop for HazInfo entitled “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-Based Last-Mile Warning Systems” at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) through its Bangladesh Network Office for Urban Safety (BNUS) directed by Dr. Mehedi Ahmed Ansary. The report summarizes the workshop and its sessions. Overall, the workshop was a success in familiarizing the Bangladeshi audience with the HazInfo pilot project and meeting the objectives.
Serving Sri Lanka: Indian Ocean tsunami warning capabilities improving Addressable satellite radio sets were found to be the best alerting technology of the community disaster warning pilot project conducted by LIRNEasia and Sarvodaya. Java enabled mobile phones which has a wake up siren came next. The GSM based remote alarm device developed locally by Dialog Telekom, MicroImage and University of Moratuwa followed closely. It has both light and siren.Findings of this project on learning how information-communication technologies and community based training can help in tsunami and other disaster situations had been discussed by community leaders and international experts at a workshop on “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning with a Focus on Community-Based Last-Mile Warning Systems” at the Sarvodaya Headquarters in Moratuwa recently.
LIRNEasia in partnership with Sarvodaya, is organizing the concluding events of “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination Research Project” in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on 28-29 March 2007.  This “Last-Mile” project reflects Sarvodaya and LIRNEasia’s shared objective of evaluating the suitability of information communication technology (ICT) in the last mile of a national disaster warning system for Sri Lanka and possible extension to other developing countries. A major part of the concluding events is the forum entitled, “Sharing knowledge on disaster warning, with a focus on community-based last-mile warning systems”, which will be held on 28-29 March 2007 at the Sarvodaya Damsak Mandiraya (Sarvodaya Main Campus) in Moratuwa. The conference intends to bring together knowledge from the South Asia Region to Sarvodaya for a forum on practical solutions for communicating risk information to rural communities. The events also include a Media Conference on 30 March 2007.