early warning systems

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.
Those who know graphs theory are familiar with the “four color theorem“; an example being the world map (relaxed as a planar graph) can be colored with a minimum of four colors such that two countries sharing a border do not share the same color. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London use this theorem to color code cellular network base stations. The base stations are in abstract sense regarded as message Brokers (also termed as “Publisher Subscriber Message Oriented Middleware” – PSMOM) that channel the published message (SMS, Email, Voice packet, data packets, etc) to the Subscriber (or message recipient). Sometimes a subscriber and a publisher can be directly linked through a single broker or they may be linked through several intermediary brokers. The role of the Sahana Alerting Broker, essentially, is similar to that of a cellular base station; where decision-maker or decision-system published risk information is disseminated to the subscribers of the response systems in the form of public warnings or restricted and private alerts (also known as closed user group alerts typically applicable to first responders).
At least some have first assumed it a practical joke, but Daily Mirror online confirmed President did send a New Year wish to all mobile users today. Using romanised Sinhala President wrote “Kiwu paridi obata NIDAHAS, NIVAHAL RATAK laba dunnemi. Idiri anagathaya sarwapparakarayenma Wasanawantha Wewa! SUBA NAWA WASARAK WEWA! Mahinda Rajapaksa” (As promised I delivered you an independent and free country.
From 13-15 October, 2008, The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with support from the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction – Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning (UNISDR-PPEW) and the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) organized the Second United Nations International UN-SPIDER Workshop on “Disaster Management and Space Technology – Bridging the Gap” in Bonn, Germany. LIRNEasia researcher, Natasha Udu-gama was one of 134 participants representing 49 countries. The 3-day UN-SPIDER  workshop was notable in that it featured a number of German and international presentations on the themes of Session 1: “Space technology in support of risk and disaster management”, Session 2: “Vulnerability and Risk Assessment”, Session 3: “Contributions of space-based technologies to existing and proposed early warning systems”, and Session 4: “Disaster Medicine, Telemedicine and Integrated Vector Management (IVM)”. Natasha Udu-gama presented on “Last Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” during Session 3 highlighting the usage of WorldSpace Addressable Radios for Emergency Alerts (AREA) systems as appropriate for last-mile hazard information dissemination in the LIRNEasia pilot project “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination”. The presentation also presented sustainability models for WorldSpace in Bangladesh and Indonesia, while demonstrating […]
Maldives is a country with an estimated population of 309,575 (August 2008), 312,527 active mobile SIMs, two mobile operators, and complete cellular coverage of all inhabited atolls, including most of the internal ferry and shipping routes (only a little bit in the one and a half degree channel in not covered, and plans are afoot to give coverage there too). It was also the worst affected in terms of property loss in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on a per capita basis. It is also one of the countries most dependent on tourism revenues. Of all the South Asian countries, it is best positioned to exploit the potential of cell broadcasting both for early warning and for commercial applications. In this light, LIRNEasia was pleased to be invited to conduct a scoping study on cell broadcasting for both public-service and commercial purposes by the Telecom Authority of the Maldives.
Natasha Udu-gama has been invited to represent LIRNEasia at the Second International United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response  (UN-SPIDER) Bonn Workshop: “Disaster Management and Space Technology – Bridging the Gap” in Bonn, Germany, from the 13th to 15th October 2008. Natasha will make a presentation on, ‘Last Mile Hazard Information Dissemination’ at a session entitled, ‘Contribution of space-based technologies to existing and proposed Early Warning Systems’. This session will examine how public-private partnerships (PPP) centered on space-based technologies can enable the development, establishment and embedding of early warning systems. The event is organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), with the aim of providing a platform for brainstorming and in-depth discussion among decision-makers and experts from both the space technology and disaster management communities, academia and private companies. The UN-SPIDER was established as a programme of the UNOOSA, with the aim of providing universal access to all countries and relevant international and regional organizations to space-based information and services relevant to disaster management.
To an ordinary observer the image on left looks like some monkeys but to Nuwan Waidyanatha that is his complex Early Warning System. Monkeys act as sensors and detectors of hazards (aka a leopard) to deer – who would take immediate action for mass evacuation. Again the image on top right look likes a damper to any engineering student, but to Nuwan that is mass evacuation. The figure below might explain it better with the blue line representing a quick but rough evacuation and the red line a smoother one. What does this figure has to do with Broadband QoS?
The article below (issued to mark International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, 11 days late) says that the manner in which warning are communicated “typically disadvantage women.” The “evidence” or illustration used to support this broad claim is strained, to say the least. Our experience with the HazInfo project in Sri Lanka was quite the opposite. It will be interesting to see what others think. OneWorld South Asia Home / News:Opinion & Comment – Disaster lessons from the past Early warning systems are critical to reducing the impact of floods, droughts, hurricanes, tsunamis and other disasters.
By Rohan Samarajiva The findings of a pilot project on learning how information-communication technologies and community-based training can help in responding to disasters such as tsunamis were 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” held on March 28th and 29th, 2007 at the Sarvodaya headquarters in Moratuwa. These finding ranged from the difficulties experienced in communicating disaster warnings to villages when mobile GSM and fixed CDMA telecom networks were not functional due to conflict conditions to the importance of not leaving newspapers on top of sensitive electronic equipment which can overheat and shut down as a result. In terms of the five communication technologies that were evaluated across multiple criteria, the addressable satellite radio sets and the java-enabled mobile phones performed the best, with the GSM-based community warning device developed locally by Dialog Telekom, MicroImage and University of Moratuwa following closely. The VSAT based warning system did not perform too well in the tests. The objective was not to declare a winner among the technologies, but to find out how they could be improved to perform reliably in the difficult conditions of Sri […]
Very good. Now will the Indian government walk the walk? Will the other countries take the lead? Govt. committed to develop a robust disaster management system: PM Addressing the First India Disaster Management Congress here, Dr.
Often a response is a result of a stimulus. Evacuation drills are stimulus-response models; the drill is activated by a siren and the people are expected to react by hurrying to safety zones, in most cases defined by the community’s response plan; i.e. activating an existing emergency response plan.Social Cognition is encoding, storing, and retrieving social information and applying the cognition to social situations.
The first phase of the Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination (HazInfo) project funded by IDRC, was completed recently with the training of trainer component. LIRNEasia is implementing this project along with its project partners Sarvodaya, the largest community organization in Sri Lanka and TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP), a non-profit media organization working in the Asian region. LIRNEasia has undertaken a number of initiatives in the area of ICTs disasters and early warning post the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004. However, this is by far the largest project undertaken LIRNEasia in this area to evaluate the suitability of a number of ICTs (information and communication technologies) deployed in varied conditions for their effectiveness in the last-mile of a hazard warning system.
An AFP report states that: UN Under Secretary Patricio Bernal said Egeland and former US president Bill Clinton had taken to task government officials from countries in the Indian Ocean in a closed-door meeting here in a bid to speed up the process. “We are not worried about the technical side. At the moment we have 17 sensors in the Indian Ocean and by July we will have 23. If anything happens tonight, somebody will be there to move an alert,” he told AFP. “What we are afraid of is whether this information will flow down.

Mapping disaster research

Posted by on February 14, 2006  /  5 Comments

NSF EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP ON SENSOR BASED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR EARLY TSUNAMI DETECTION, Maui, Feb 9-10, 2006 What I learned during my visits to the Civil Defense Center and the Tsunami Museum in Hilo and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach in Hawai’i last January greatly contributed to the disaster communication research program undertaken by LIRNEasia in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Therefore, I welcomed the opportunity to step back and reflect on the research program a year later, also in Hawai’i. The occasion was a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation of the US. It was organized by Louise Comfort, Daniel Mosse and Taieb Znati, all at the U of Pittsburgh. Louise is from Public Policy and has been working on disasters for a long time.

Tsunami Lessons

Posted by on April 1, 2005  /  8 Comments

Ten preliminary lessons of the 28th March 2005 Sumatra great earthquake (Photo Source) LIRNEasia, together with Vanguard Foundation, intends to systematically analyze the Sri Lankan media response to the great earthquake of the 28th of March. However, it appears useful to draw some preliminary lessons from this tragedy which has cost over 1,000 lives, including the people of Nias and other islands and those in Sri Lanka and elsewhere who died as a result of the warnings. The conclusions are preliminary; comments are welcome. # Earthquake hazard detection is easy; tsunami hazard detection is not. One cannot simply infer the existence of a destructive tsunami from an earthquake.
SMS enlisted for Tsunami warning system? By Ben Charny, CNET News.com Monday, January 10 2005 11:55 AM At least five countries have begun developing an alert system using cell phone text messages, a response to the catastrophic Asian tsunami that exposed flaws in present-day early warning schemes. Discussions among officials in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, which were hard hit by the killer tsunami, along with France, have begun in just the last few days, according to a source familiar with the plans. The goal is to supplement older systems that proved little help for nations in the path of the immense waves in late December that have so far killed more than 140,000 people in 11 countries.