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Tag Archives: Disaster

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Landslides, and what can be done about them

We’ve had too many disasters. The tsunami, the LTTE, Nandikadal. And now Koslanda. After the tsunami we asked what could be done to avoid a repeat. We found answers. Ten years later we can be confident that it will not be that bad, the next time. But landslides are very different from tsunamis and cyclones. […]

2014 Disaster Risk Reduction Public Lecture: Regional Readiness

Dr Stewart Weinstein

A lecture on disaster risk reduction was organized on Thursday 19th June at the Sri Lanka Foundation to consolidate knowledge on the subject in Sri Lanka and share it with other countries, private sector organizations and the general public. The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Stuart Weinstein, Deputy Director of the Pacific Tsunami […]

Talk on tsunami in January 2005: What Happened in Sri Lanka? And why it won’t be so bad next time

Nine and a half years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, I was asked to speak on the role of ICTs in disaster management at the PTC conference in Honolulu. The title says it all: Why it won’t be so bad next time. It was an emotional time and I half-wondered whether I […]

Presentations at ESCAP expert consultation on Asian Information Superhighway

Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan and I participated in the ESCAP consultation that sought input on three documents: a report on the state of optical-fiber-based connectivity in the ASEAN region, a new interactive map of international and domestic fiber cables in Asia and a report by LIRNEasia on resilience of ICT infrastructures. The agenda […]

Need for mobile mesh networks during crises

“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

Sri Lanka: Seven years after tsunami, lack of information and preparedness prevails

The government itself has found the early warning actions of the designated national authorities deficient and is talking of setting up workaround mechanisms. Nothing really new, other than sadness that seven years and large commitments of resources have not taken us much farther than we were back in 2004. What is even more worrisome is […]

Emulating Speech-To-Text Reliability with ITU Difficulty Scores

The P.800 Difficult Percentage (or Difficulty Score) is an International Telecommunications Union Standardization sector recommended method for testing transmission quality in one’s own laboratory. We adopted this method in our feasibility study to enable Freedom Fone for emergency data exchange. The project studied the design challenges for exchanging the Freedom Fone interactive voice data with […]

Last-mile early warnings in nomadic Mongolia

Does this picture remind you of the default Windows XP desktop background? That’s what most of Mongolia looks like. Roughly 40% of the Mongolians live in Ulaanbaartar (UB). The rest are sparsely scattered in thinly populated communities in the vast open terrain. The cultures vary across the desert, meadows, and hills. The human to animal […]

Cell broadcasting goes live in Bhutan (coinciding with LIRNEasia recommending it as best for public warning)

Last week, b-mobile subscribers in Bhutan received a message that cell broadcasting had been enabled on the system. It was the same week LIRNEasia recommended that cell broadcasting was the best option for effecting public warning in the mountainous country that is vulnerable to massive flash floods known as Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs).

Twenty five years after Kantale: Have we learned? LIRNEasia DRR lecture 27th April 2011

The Kantale dam breached twenty five years ago, in April 1986. It cost 176 lives, LKR 65 million in relief only, LKR 186 million to repair the dam, uncounted amounts to repair damage to infrastructure, livelihoods and private property and still haunts the survivors. A documentary on Kantale, 19 years later, made in 2005 by […]

LIRNEasia aids Sarvodaya care for the flood-affected in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, especially the eastern seaboard, is in the midst of a massive flood disaster, said to be on the scale of the tsunami in terms of people affected (1 in 20 citizens according to government data) and perhaps the worst since 1957. Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organization and a long-term partner, was one […]

Disaster Risk Reduction: Is Europe different?

Brussels, Nov 25-26 – Third Civil Protection Forum organized by the European Commission. It rains heavily, but fortunately no floods as in Ireland. Ideal environment to discuss disaster risks. I speak at Seminar F titled ‘Innovative Technology for Disaster Management’. I am one of the two speakers from Asia in the entire conference; the other […]

Chanuka Wattegama at European Commission Environment Conference

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 […]

Mobile Phones and Sharing Economies for sustaining last-mile early warning systems presented at Rutgers University

In developing countries such as Sri Lanka, when government has no resources to deliver the essential public good of early warnings, alternate methods must be advocated – that was the idea of the HazInfo research project, where civil society in villages were given training to respond appropriately to alerts received from the Hazard Information Hub […]

Common Alerting Protocol unheard of in Asia-Pacific except Sri Lanka

I was invited by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-D) to present and overview of the Common Alerting Protocol and lessons learned in the Sri Lankan experience in relations to the HazInfo project and the work in progress on the RTBP m-Health project. Further demonstrated the use of the Sahana Messaging Moudule CAP Template engine for […]

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