Madhawa, K., Lokanathan, S., Samarajiva, R., & Maldeniya, D.
The special issue on “Community-based last-mile early warning system” carried on its back page the following contribution from Rohan Samarajiva (despite the title of the publication, it’s not possible to find this piece on the web, so what is pasted below is the pre-pub version: Between a rock and a hard place The tragedy of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the absence of any official warning. The Bengkulu earthquake of 2007 September 12th shows that this is unlikely to be repeated. What we must guard against now is indifference to warning; of populations that will refuse to evacuate in the face of real danger. Tsunami prediction is an inexact art practiced in conditions of imperfect information and time pressure. In the Pacific Basin, which has had the most experience with tsunamis, 75 per cent of all warnings are false.
Yesterday, 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia, with its Indonesian partner, the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP), held the final HazInfo workshop at the Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta, Indonesia. The “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop included several highlights such as a testimonial from an Aceh survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami; informative presentations from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang, GTZ-GITEWS, Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG) and the University of Syiah Kuala, Aceh. The workshop encouraged animated discussion on the importance of community-based early warning systems, training, and the necessity for information to follow warning.
On 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia in partnership with the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP) will hold the third and final “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop at the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rohan Samarajiva, Natasha Udu-gama and Nuwan Waidyanatha will participate and speak at the event alongside several Indonesian speakers from various governmental, community-based and international NGOs such as BAKORNAS PB, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang and GTZ GITEWS. As in past HazInfo workshops in India and Bangladesh, the Indonesia workshop will not only discuss findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information” pilot project, but also exchange lessons learned from Indonesian counterparts.
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.
Paper titled: Challenges of Optimizing Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for SMS based GSM Devices in Last-Mile Hazard Warnings in Sri Lanka (authors N. Waidyanatha – LIRNEasia, D. Dias – University of Moratuwa, and H. Purasinghe – Microimage) was presented at the 19th Meeting of the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF), in Chennai, India, 5-7 November, 2007. The paper was discussed in Working Group 1 – Human Perspective and Service Concepts (WG1).
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.
On October 25, 2007, LIRNEasia will hold its first regional dissemination workshop for the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) pilot project at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) through its Bangladesh Network Office for Urban Safety (BNUS) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The purpose of the workshop is to gather experts, practitioners and community organizations to discuss the findings of the HazInfo project and determine ways in which the project may be developed to suit community-based hazard information dissemination regionally. The “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop in Dhaka will feature five presenters from government, academia and NGOs. Dr. A.
Gordon Gow, a lead researcher in the Last-Mile Hazard Warning System (LM-HWS) Pilot (HazInfo project), presented the paper titled – “Community-based Hazard Warnings in Sri Lanka: Performance of Alerting and Notification in a Last-Mile Message Relay” at the 1st Wireless Rural and Emergency Communications (WRECOM) Conference in Rome, Italy, Oct 01-02. One of Gordon Gow’s key contributions to the HazInfo project was the Common Alerting Protocol Profile for Sri Lanka, which was a hard case as far as integrating the multi-language scenario as it is the case in Sri Lanka. The CAP Profile for Sri Lanka was designed for disseminations in Sinhala, Tamil, and English languages. Such a complex profile of CAP was field tested in Sri Lanka’s HazInfo project. This was the first time a Multilanguage profile was field tested in the World.
:The Daily Star: Internet Edition Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organisation, and LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy think-tank, collaborated on a 32-village pilot project that sought to identify the best technologies for reaching villages; to identify the significance of organisational strength and training for risk reduction; and to assess the participation of women in these activities.The community-based approach implemented in the project is different from a public-warning approach, but has lessons for government communications with first responders and for community organisation and training as well. For example, the project field tested addressable and remotely activated satellite radios that have coverage over the entire Bay of Bengal region. Other equipment deployed included Java and Symbion enabled mobile handsets capable of generating loud alarms and multi-language alert messages. The Bangladesh Network Office for Urban Safety (BNUS) of the Department of Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is co-organising a workshop with LIRNEasia entitled “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last Mile Warning Systems” to discuss the findings of the Last Mile Hazard Warning System (Hazinfo) Pilot Project as well as share the lessons of community-based last mile warning systems in Bangladesh.
Paper titled “Community-based Hazard Warnings in Rural Sri Lanka: Performance of a Last-Mile Message Relay”, authors – Gordon Gow (Associate Professor, Faculty of Extensions, University of Alberta, Canada), Peter Anderson (Associate Professor, Department of Telematics, Simon Fraser University, Canada), and Nuwan Waidyanatha (Project Manager, Last-Mile Hazard Warning Systems, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka), will be presented at the 1st Wireless Rural Emergency Communication Conference. The WRECOM 2007 Conference is jointly organized by the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, the IEEE Communications Society and the Vehicular Technology/Communications Society joint Chapter Italy Section. The conference will take place in Rome, October 1-2, 2007. The HazInfo project realized that early warnings via Information Communication Technology (ICT) must be a point-to-multi-point application and is best accommodate by Wireless ICTs. The HazInfo pilot included outfitting and field-testing an initial 32 villages with various combinations of wireless communication equipment, which could provide features such as: early warning wake-up, addressability and provision of information in three languages (English, Sinhalese and Tamil).