I was just interviewed on the phone by the BBC Sinhala Service. Since many who read this blog will not be able to hear or understand this, thought I would summarize the key points:
1. The immediate priorities should be rescue and housing and care of those rendered homeless. Sahana and mobile communication can play a vital role in helping efficient coordination of these activities.
2. From the reports we’re getting from inside Nepal, the communication networks seem to have survived but power for charging devices, supporting WiFi and even keeping the base stations going seems to be becoming a major issue. The people who are now in communication with the outside world and with their loved ones may be cut off for lack of power. Diesel for backup generators is also reported to be running short. Perhaps batteries and powerpacks could be included among relief supplies.
3. Though not immediate, it is very important that a thorough assessment be made of how the critical infrastructures performed during the quake. It is this kind of timely assessment that allows remedial action to be taken to harden the networks for the next disaster.
4. Though not related to ICTs, we need to emphasize the importance of building codes. They must be properly formulated for different regions (to survive earthquakes in Dhaka and Kathmandu; to survive tsunamis and cyclones on the coasts of Sri Lanka and India and so on); they must be adhered to, and they must be enforced.
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