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Design of eSri Lanka

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on January 6, 2005  /  10 Comments

An article describing the thinking behind the design of e Sri Lanka, with emphasis on e government and infrastructure is at . As the title note states, this was a collective design that many contributed to. So, I cannot take credit for the design, though I will have to take responsibility for any errors in the article. This is a good journal for those working on developing country infrastructure issues. Subscribe.
From www.timesonline.com Telecom charity forges links for tsunami victims by Elizabeth Judge Vodafone and its industry peers are backing a new kind of aid for striken areas AS EARLY images of the Asian tsunami disaster were flashed around the world, an aircraft loaded with equipment touched down in Sri Lanka at Colombo international airport. Within minutes, technicians had set up an emergency telecommunications centre with satellite phone lines and high-speed internet connections. Relief organisations were quick to avail themselves of the service.

Tsunami recovery and ICTs

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on January 5, 2005  /  11 Comments

Question asked by a journalist: is there any basis for expecting that Sri Lanka’s very successful ICT strategy will in fact help in the economic recovery from the tsunami? For example, could ICT-enabled industries provide opportunities to replace the jobs/industries that have been damaged, or could the telecom structure help speed rebuilding efforts? In other words, have Sri Lanka’s efforts in building a digital economy put it in a better position to recover from this disaster? Answer: The fisheries industry that got almost wiped out had very low productivity. It’ll come back, hopefully with better productivity.
Saving Grace Lanka Business Online 28 December 2004 15:22 hours Thirty six stranded British tourists were rescued in Sri Lanka thanks to a mobile phone with one of them and technology that could pin-point the user, an official involved in the rescue told AFP…. see full story
Sujata and I will be participating in a conference in Manila addressing how to get them to focus on ICTs. In light of the Indian Ocean tsunami, there will also be a session on disaster warning, where I will speak. Provisional program is attached. Manila ICT4D and Universities Program Asia Consultation

Tsunami Timeline

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on January 2, 2005  /  7 Comments

Attached is a color coded timeline of events related to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that seeks to answer the question “who knew what when?” This Presentation is available as: Flash: Flash Presentation on Tsunami Warnings (Truncated). Flash: Full Flash Presentation Powerpoint:Tsunami Warnings and How We Can Listen and HTML Tsunami Timeline The basic timeline is below. 7:00 AM: Indonesia Reports Earthquake 7:05 AM: Colombo Gets Quake Report 7:14 AM: Honolulu Earthquake Bulletin 7:30 AM: Tsunami Hits Sumatra 8:04 AM: Honolulu Tsunami Warning 8:27 AM: Tsunami Hits Kalmunai 8:55 AM: Tsunami Hits Trinco, Batticaloa, more 9:30 AM: Tsunami Hits Galle, Kalutara, more
The most remarkable perhaps is the story of Nallavadu, whose entire population of 3,600 was saved by a phone call. Nallavadu, along with the other three villages, is involved with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation’s `Information Village Research Project,’ where the MSSRF’s informatics division conducts classes from rural knowledge centres. One of the former volunteers of this programme, Vijayakumar, who now works in Singapore, saw the tsunami warning there.

Anti-reform article

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on December 31, 2004  /  5 Comments

All this seems irrelevant now, but 2 weeks ago, the government’s Sunday newspaper ran a rambling article about telecom reforms, that was in part a personal attack on Rohan Samarajiva, but mostly an assault on the reform process itself. The tables that were central to the article had been produced by Mr K.K. Gunawardene, former Director of the Department of Telecommunications (state-owned integrated monopoly until 1991), more recently with the ITU’s Bangkok office. These tables are unfortunately not reproduced in the online edition of the newspaper.

Tsunami response 30th Dec

Posted by Indi Samarajiva on December 30, 2004  /  0 Comments

The body count is way over what everyone thought. The volunteers are working like crazy. The flaws in the government’s relief efforts are beginning to show. The LIRNEasia response is given in the attachment. Also attached is a scanned copy of Rohan’s interview with the leading Sinhala daily on disaster preparation.
Presentation

Responding to the tsunami

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on December 28, 2004  /  4 Comments

The wind was not held back Below is a talk given 6 years ago entitled “To hold back the wind.” That was an attempt to get disaster preparedness going. It failed, obviously. The walls of water came in with no warning; thousands died instantaneously; millions are homeless. Parentheses refer to 9/11 in the US for scale: in a few hours on the 26th of December more that 17,900 (3,000) died out of a population of 19 million (280 million).

Day after the Tsunami

Posted by Divakar Goswami on December 27, 2004  /  3 Comments

Dear friends, well-wishers and partners of LIRNEasia, all members of the LIRNEasia team based in Colombo are safe. Despite the devastation wrought by the tsunami over most of coastal Sri Lanka on Dec 26, our office is functioning. Sarvodaya is grass-roots organization that has been around for 47 years and is doing an incredible job of getting relief to the tsunami victims. They have an extensive network of volunteers and stations in 34 Sri Lankan towns, including the most heavily damaged. Although they are busy providing temporary shelters, drinking water, food and medicine to tsunami victims, they are also gearing up for medium and long-term rehabilitation that includes reconstructing homes, providing trauma counselling, preventing outbreak of disease and providing a home to the orphaned children.
Rapid Response Unit: LIRNEasia’s response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s Consultation Paper 16/2004: Growth of Telecom Services in Rural India: The Way Forward (October 27 2004) See report and download documents
Rapid Response Unit: In response to a consultation paper, ‘Reassigning/Allocating Spectrum in the 800/900 MHz Bands‘ in Octoer 2004, LIRNEasia submitted its comments. Subsequently, the TRC issued a response to this, with their comments, and request for further comments and views. LIRNEasia has responded with the following letter and attachments [1 & 2]

Melody Interview plus

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on December 19, 2004  /  2 Comments

contains an interesting interview with Bill Melody and two other items worth reading. A new publication of the Mexican regulatory agency, COFETEL. Worth thinking about: Bill’s central point is that the new regulatory agencies must have flexibility. He says their managers must have expertise, independence, capacity, etc.: “they must be informed and sophisticated market managers focused on using market tools strategically as their principal weapon in achieving pubic interest objectives.