Disasters — Page 19 of 23


Support for the HazInfo project’s position that radio, which allows for point-to-multipoint congestion-free transmission of warnings is the optimal technology. The LIRNEasia and WorldSpace developed solution, which allows for remote activation of radios is even superior to what is described in this article. However, the article points out that a lot of institutional factors need to be addressed for the warning to be effective, an issue we are grappling with in the Sri Lanka pilot. Air Support – New York Times Consider, for instance, the basic question of where you would turn for information if disaster struck your hometown. The Internet puts up-to-the-minute information at your fingertips, but not if you can’t turn on your computer or your local network is down.
Straight talk from the head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center. This is even more reason for Sri Lanka to improve its national and last-mile warning systems. Phuket Gazette – online English newspaper for Phuket, Thailand, with daily news, classified ads, yellow pages, business listings, upcoming events, event calendar, phuket events Because of its location, the lone tsunami direct detection buoy deployed last month in the middle of the Indian Ocean would offer little advance warning to Phuket in the event of another tsunami generated off the Indonesian Coast, Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, head of the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) in Nonthaburi, has told the Gazette.Dr Smith said that the location of the first buoy was chosen so that it would provide equal benefit to all Indian Ocean Rim countries, not just Thailand. “I made the suggestion that we put the first buoy there so that we wouldn’t appear selfish by putting our own data needs before that of other countries in the region,” he said.

How safe from a tsunami?

Posted on December 31, 2006  /  1 Comments

The views of the joint coordinator of the Post-graduate Degree Program on Disaster Management at the University of Peradeniya. Two years on: How safe are we from a future tsunami? In connection with early warning, it must be added that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been coordinating the efforts of the international community led by the Government of the United States of America to develop a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, similar to that currently used in the Pacific, by the end of 2007. The proposed Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning Network, though by no means a foolproof system, will help improve Sri Lanka’s tsunami early warning capability and reliability. Yet, the more difficult and challenging task will be the dissemination of such tsunami warnings fast and effectively to the vulnerable communities so as to enable their evacuation to safe locations before the arrival of the tsunami.

Indian Ocean tsunami warning

Posted on December 23, 2006  /  0 Comments

Indian Ocean tsunami warning system on slow track: Tsunami Warning Remains Elusive – Council on Foreign Relations The wave which swept so many away two years ago (BBC) has faded from memory in many parts of the world, even though as many as two million people remain in temporary shelters in parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. But surely the less onerous task of setting up a skeletal tsunami warning network must be well along, right?Not quite. While enormous sums of aid flowed in for relief and reconstruction efforts, the less glamorous work of positioning seismic warning buoys around the rim of the Indian Ocean lags financially and organizationally. As this new Backgrounder explains, several piecemeal systems are up and running, but the goal of creating an Indian Ocean early-warning system to rival the ones run by the United States and Japan in the Pacific remains a long way from being reached (TIME).
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.

KURIL ISLANDS’ Earthquake

Posted on November 18, 2006  /  0 Comments

[Tsunami Warning – IOC] WCATWC Message  PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE PARAMETERS  MAGNITUDE – 7.7  TIME      – 0214 AKST NOV 15 2006             0314  PST NOV 15 2006             1114  UTC NOV 15 2006  LOCATION  – 46.7 NORTH 153.5 EAST           – KURIL ISLANDS  DEPTH     – 21 MILES THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER IN EWA BEACH HAWAII HAS ISSUED A TSUNAMI WARNING FOR AREAS OF THE PACIFIC OUTSIDE OF CALIFORNIA/ OREGON/ WASHINGTON/ BRITISH COLUMBIA AND ALASKA. As Japan braces: Tech-related tsunami resources  By Paul McNamara on Wed, 11/15/2006 – 8:52am  The information and warning systems didn’t always work flawlessly, Japanese officials acknowledge.
An international committee tries to answer the question of why we don’t do more to reduce the risks of disasters (prevent hazards from becoming disasters). They lay the blame on all governments, but comparative data on the loss of life from disasters in the developing versus the developed world, shows that our government are more to blame. This was discussed in a publication that came out last December. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | World ‘lacks will’ on disasters Lives saved through risk reduction are invisible to the media, whereas people pulled from the rubble are highly visible

HazInfo Partners win more awards

Posted on October 24, 2006  /  0 Comments

U of Moratuwa Dialog Lab and MicroImage won two awards at the National Best Quality Software Awards 2006 conducted by the British Computer Society, Sri Lanka branch. They were for Best in R&D category; and Overall Best, both for the GSM-based hazard alerting device used in the HazInfo project. Our warm congratulations.
Zee News – South Asian countries lose 2-16 % GDP in natural disasters “Studies show two to 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of South Asian countries is lost every year due to natural disasters. They also show a dollar spent on mitigating disasters saves five dollars to be spent subsequently on relief and rehabilitation.”The point of course being that there’s nothing natural about this horrendous loss of lives and growth. It is because we do not take the necessary human actions and engage in the required institutional reforms, that these losses are as high. The micro-level approach that is being proposed in India has significant similarities to the objectives of the HazInfo project and Sarvodaya’s overall approach to disaster preparedness.

US West Coast Tsunami Warnings Live Test

Posted on September 10, 2006  /  1 Comments

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TO CONDUCT LIMITED TSUNAMI WARNING COMMUNICATIONS TEST ALONG U.S. WEST COAST NOAA’s National Weather Service will conduct a limited communications test of the Tsunami Warning System in the coastal areas of California, Oregon, and Washington on Wednesday, September 13, between 10:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.
There is an international report in a reputable medium (Reuters AlertNet) about a text messaging for disaster warning development in Sri Lanka. This is a request to whoever who is responsible for this project to give it publicity within the country, not limiting the publicity to foreign media. “Sri Lanka has also been trying to harness the mobile phone as a powerful warning device, and is working on a text message alert system to give people a crucial few minutes to seek safety if another tsunami hits.” The story that contains this claim is at Alertnet:
LIRNEasia was invited to a meeting by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mahaveli Development to discuss dam safety, based on the concept paper we developed last year in collaboration with a large number of partners. Work is underway to develop a project for World Bank funding that includes dam safety and the upgrading of hydrological and metereological information systems connected to the Sri Lanka’s water resources. The World Bank task managers present emphasized that the project development as well as its implementation must be done in adherence to the principles of consultation, participation, ownership of the project by all parties, and transparency. LIRNEasia was the only non-governmental entity at the meeting that had 30-40 attendees. In my comments, I expressed our appreciation of the invitation and offered to share our expertise in the handling of public consultation projects and community involvement in last-mile disaster warning.
By Frank Ling Washington 03 August 2006 Scientists expect more deadly earthquakes and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. Countries in the region are making progress towards a regional warning and alert center. Wolf says that relaying the warning from central governments to their people remains a major challenge. “The technical side is quite easy to install because this is just technology we know,” he explained. “Once the warning shows up in the national warning system in a country, the difficult part is for a country to set up an internal civil defense system to get the warnings to the endangered areas and to the last mile.

Learning to Respond Intelligently

Posted on July 29, 2006  /  0 Comments

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.

Sri Lanka Disaster Act a Disaster?

Posted on July 26, 2006  /  0 Comments

A excerpt from my analysis of the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Act in Lanka Business Online: Will we be ready the next time? The sad answer is no. The government has enacted framework legislation that falls short not only on basic criteria such as effective operation of a disaster authority, sustainable and stable funding and accountability, but even on clarity of drafting. No attempt has been made in the design to insulate the authority from the weaknesses of existing government institutions, though the Act does succeed in insulating the authority from public funds. The Road Map, reflecting an admirable commitment to action, is an excellent starting point for mapping priorities and achieving results.
The report presents a summary of the comments and observations made in the presentations and panel discussions on the 7 sessions of the Forum: Using ICTs for Effective Disaster Management. The Forum is an output of the CTO regional capacity building programs. The comments and observations made in this report are based on the outline of the Forum’s program, CTO suggested disaster management matrix, from observations made, and conversations with stakeholders at a Forum held at the Heritance Hotel in Ahungalla, Sri Lanka, 26-29 June 2006. The intent of this report is to identify issues for further consideration regarding the social scientific methodology of using ICTs in Disaster Management and to provide a set of notes that mention the various core activities of the participating stakeholders. View copy of report — CTO Report Using ICT for DM June 2006.