Disasters — Page 7 of 23 — LIRNEasia


Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan and I participated in the ESCAP consultation that sought input on three documents: a report on the state of optical-fiber-based connectivity in the ASEAN region, a new interactive map of international and domestic fiber cables in Asia and a report by LIRNEasia on resilience of ICT infrastructures. The agenda and links to presentations are here. Following revisions, our report too should be published.
The widespread casualties caused this year by fast moving weather systems in Uttarakhand and in Pakistan have caused experts to call for real-time data sharing among the region’s meteorological departments. This seems to call for increased reliance on ICTs. The monsoon has been erratic in recent years. Last year, the monsoon failed in Sri Lanka, and parts of the country’s northern, eastern and southern regions went through a drought that affected at least 1.2 million people.

Mobile money

Posted on July 28, 2013  /  0 Comments

I saw this lament and my first thought was, she does not live in Kenya, but in backward New York. A truly mobile wallet — one that would let you easily pay for restaurant meals, subway rides or beers at a bar with a quick wave of your cellphone — has long been described as imminent. But it remains elusive. Some innovations have begun to bridge the gap, but most have been a disappointment or have not yet worked well enough for mainstream adoption. In 2012, Square, which makes a credit card reader that can be plugged into an iPhone or iPad, worked on a credit-cardless system that let people pay for goods without ever pulling out their wallets or phones.
We are not even sure how many have died. But we are sure that too many have died as result of the strong winds that lashed the west coast the past few days. I could write a long essay. But instead, I will link to what we wrote after the mini cyclone of November 2011 off Matara-Weligama that saw the loss of too many lives and the usual calls for investigation and blame. The old post that includes outline of a solution.
LIRNEasia works on infrastructure policy and regulation. It also has expertise in disaster risk reduction. That means that we have a natural interest in critical infrastructure issues. This is an area I had published in, even before LIRNEasia came into being. The subject was on assigning responsibility for risk reduction by regulators.
People ask me where cell broadcasting has been implemented. I’ve said Netherlands. But it actually had been implemented quietly in the US two years ago. The ad campaign to publicize it is being run only now. “Many people do not realize that they carry a potentially life-saving tool with them in their pockets or purses every day,” said W.
MapBox has released its JavaScript code for the public to use in visualizing the recent Moore tornado impact. Simply slide your mouse over the area in the map below. Exerpt from mapbox blog – “Thanks to open aerial imagery provided by the U.S. Government and our MapBox.
“In a recent article on BBC Future, Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Internet Law at Harvard University, promotes the need for a network that works independently of the ones owned and controlled by the network operators and only in an emergency – something called a mesh network.” – FULL STORY
Cyclone Nargis still haunts Myanmar. With a wall of wave as high as 16 feet at 135 miles per hour, the sea had unleashed its fury across the Irrawaddy Delta on May 2, 2008. Nearly 140,000 lives were perished and 2.4 million displaced people lost everything. It destroyed 450,000 homes, damaged 350,000 others, flooded 600,000 hectares of agricultural land and ruined 60% of farming implements.

Symbols in Alerting

Posted on May 14, 2013  /  0 Comments

I had a dream once – I was walking along a river in China and then an audible alarm emitting from my mobile phone got my attention. When I looked at the screen, surprisingly, a symbol with a red border showing rising water and a human figure running uphill towards shelter, was displaying. Later I realized, being illiterate in Mandarin, a text message would have done me no good. However, the symbol made perfect sense. It was an immediate threat of a sudden-onset flash flood (possibly caused by a damn burst).
Last Saturday a 6.6 magnitude earthquake has rocked the Baoxing County in China’s Sichuan province. It immediately reminded everyone the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 90,000 people around Chengdu city in the very Sichuan province during May 2008. Five years is too short to forget the devastation as well as the mistakes.

Overview of meteor impact hazard

Posted on February 24, 2013  /  0 Comments

Nalaka Gunawardene, a friend and colleague, has provided an overview of the hazards posed by near-earth objects. Thousands of pieces of cosmic debris enter our atmosphere every day — most are burned up before hitting the ground (producing harmless ‘shooting stars’). Larger pieces that crash-land are called meteorites. Even then, average ones are too small to cause much damage. Once in a while, a large enough piece comes along — as did on February 15 – which can be an asteroid or part of a comet.
What we noticed in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the randomness of the damage. Houses that were right next to each other were affected differently: one destroyed another untouched. This was supposed to be caused by the complex interaction of the wave and the topography of the coast. In the case of the meteor hit that affected the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk, the damage has also been random according to reports. Sometimes with glass containers within a home damaged while the windows were not.

Meteor strike knocks out mobile networks

Posted on February 16, 2013  /  0 Comments

How exactly, is the question. In the case of a tsunami or a tidal surge we know what causes the damage. What were knocked out: power? towers? Was it caused by congestion?
There is a trade off between operating networks that are able to keep operating in the face of disasters and keeping down costs. For example, a 24 hr battery will yield a more robust BTS than a 8 hour battery. But as the FCC initiated discussion revealed, 24 hr batteries impose additional costs on operators. Local rules in some cases do not allow enough space for 24 hr batteries. The issue is, no doubt, important.

Lasting impacts of IDRC funded research

Posted on December 28, 2012  /  0 Comments

It was seven years to this coming January that we launched our Last Mile HazInfo project, just one year after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It’s good to know that the project is still talked about. We are beginning work on a Tsunami + 10 initiative that will assess the impacts of post-tusnami. LIRNEasia also brought the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to Sri Lanka. This software allows messages to be channelled through multiple media so that duplicate messages relayed through other means, such as radio or the Internet, can function as a backup in case mobile phones fail.