Universities are wonderful places, in some respects. Every few years (originally 6, but now there are variations) they give the people who teach in them a few months or a year to think and write. They usually go to other universities (the idea being that the company of people who think well is a good thing for one who wishes to think and write). Within the first two years of our existence, we were honored to have someone come and spend his sabbatical with us. Below is a report in his own words, written for a different purpose, but informative about his time with us nevertheless.
In order to begin, I think it’s important to describe briefly what it is that I’m doing here during my sabbatical as it underpins my comments.I first visited this beautiful but challenging island in January 2005, shortly after the devastating tsunami event, to co-author a concept paper for a new national public warning system. This is now my third visit to the region.
Presently we’re just finishing up village field trials of a variety of public warning techniques including a ground-breaking application of satellite radio. Over 35,000 people were killed here and over 560,000 were displaced by the tsunami. In some regions entire villages and local economies were destroyed. We are currently working with 32 of these villages. We are evaluating several factors that contribute to the design of an effective last mile hazard information dissemination system, including :
* Reliability and effectiveness of various ICTs as warning technologies;
* How community hazard knowledge, risk assessment, mitigation and training influence effective warning responses;
* Contribution of the level of organizational development of a village to an effective warning response;
* Degree of integration of ICTs in the daily life of villages;
* Gender-specific response to hazard mitigating action.
We are engaged not only in technology transfer, but more importantly, in fundamental issues involving risk and community development. Communities are conducting their own hazard identification, risk assessment and vulnerability analysis and integrating results into appropriate emergency and community development plans and ongoing discourse.
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To download the ‘HazInfo ICT Assessment and Community Evaluation Report‘ by Peter Anderson, click HERE