Disaster Management


Disaster response is an important element in the disaster management cycle. Post Nepal earthquake, a group of volunteers (Kathmandu Living Labs) is using crowd-sourcing for disaster response. They started their operations within 24 hours after the earthquake and consist of 36 locals and more that 4300 supporters from around the world. They use crisis mapping technique to map thousands of reports that come in to their workstation asking for relief. OpenStreetMap, a free editable map is used by them for this endeavor.
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.

Symbols in Alerting

Posted by on May 14, 2013  /  0 Comments

I had a dream once – I was walking along a river in China and then an audible alarm emitting from my mobile phone got my attention. When I looked at the screen, surprisingly, a symbol with a red border showing rising water and a human figure running uphill towards shelter, was displaying. Later I realized, being illiterate in Mandarin, a text message would have done me no good. However, the symbol made perfect sense. It was an immediate threat of a sudden-onset flash flood (possibly caused by a damn burst).
After watching the video, please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire (there are only three simple questions to answer). You may scroll to the bottom to access the questionnaire; else click here. Thank you in advance. With the spread of affordable telecom services, most Asians now use their own phones to stay connected. Can talking on the phone help those responding to emergencies to be better organised?
The Directorate of Environment, European Commission organises the conference ‘The Civil Protection Forum – Towards a more resilient society’ that aims to explore the concept of resilience. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of disasters, and Europe has to be prepared for this challenge. The Forum will start a debate on a comprehensive European disaster management strategy to enhance resilience. Around 500 delegates, speakers and exhibitors from politics, academia, the civil protection services and international organisations are expected to participate. Chanuka Wattegama, Senior Research Manager, LIRNEasia will be one of the speakers in the six practice-oriented seminars will look more closely at how European civil protection works in the field – how does it integrate with other international actors, three major phases of an emergency (prevention, preparedness, and response) and the roles of different stakeholders (institutions, civil protection professionals and civil society).
Four years to history, ‘Your tears are mine’ (see below) was my reaction to Asian tsunami. Reproduced in multiple sites, it was recited once in a remembrance event. Though written more in a Sri Lankan context, let me pick it again today, to remember all 225,000 lives lost, in the worst tsunami in recent history – that caused vast damage to four countries LIRNEasia closely works in, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. Not my every wish was granted. The aftermath of tsunami, instead of creating a division-free society demonstrated how pathetically the disparities were amplified.
“We must realize the fact that disasters threaten sustained economic growth of the society and the country.” These were the words of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani addressing the opening ceremony of the first National Disaster Risk Management Conference. The function, reported Associated Press of Pakistan, was organized to mark the Disaster Awareness Day observed annually after the catastrophic earthquake which struck country’s northern areas in October 2005, killing 73,000 people and leaving 3.5 million homeless. On the other side of the border Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said there is a need of effective disaster management to mitigate the woes of the people in future calamities, with floods affecting several districts of Bihar and other parts of the country.
The Minister is to be commended for initiating the review of the alert process that went from alert to evacuation in minutes. Sri Lanka News | Online edition of Daily News – Lakehouse Newspapers Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, called for an immediate review of the tsunami alert process that was put into operation on September 12 to learn from the experience and refine procedures the Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry in a release said.He stated that the successful exercise could prove a platform for future improvements to the early warning process making it more effective and efficient.
It is good to have a confident Minister. Of course, we would sleep better if we were shown the results of some on-the-ground simulations, rather than given bland assurances. After all some of us remember his statements about the large number of warning towers that would be erected and operational by the second anniversary of the tsunami (and the actual outcome was . . .