DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY: ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT

 DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY: ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN   DISASTER MANAGEMENT

 

National Disaster Management Services (NDMS):
  • NDMS is conceived by NDMA in 2015-16 for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal Network Connecting Ministry of Home Affairs, NDMA, NDRF, all state/UTs headquarters and 81 vulnerable districts.
  • The project will be implemented by BSNL.
  • The scope of this pilot project is to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre’s operations across the country.
  • The project includes conducting workshops and imparting training for the capacity building of functionaries on the usage of communication equipment’s covered in this project.

 

Earthquake Disaster Risk Indexing:
  • NDMA has taken this initiative for 50 important cities and 1 district in seismic zone IV and V.
  • The project will be implemented by International Institute of Information Technology. The indexing will be useful for comparing overall risk across large number of cities and also in prioritization of cities to implement appropriate disaster mitigation measures.

 

Early Warning Dissemination System:
  • This system integrates technologies such as digital mobile radio, location based alert systems, remotely operated siren systems and universal gateways.
  • The system helps in disseminating warning communication simultaneously from the state, district and block levels in different forms like messages, voice, siren, etc.

 

Case study: Odisha
  • Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) in collaboration with Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) has developed a web and smartphone-based platform called “SATARK” (System for Assessing, Tracking and Alerting Disaster Risk Information based on Dynamic Risk Knowledge). The application is developed to provide real time watch, alert and warning information for different hazards like heat wave, lightning, agriculture risk (drought), flood monitoring, ocean state information and tsunami risk, earthquake monitoring, cyclone/storm surge for improved disaster management.
  • Odisha is the first state in the country that has implemented an Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS). This aims at establishing a foolproof communication system to address the existing gap of disseminating disaster warning from the state, district and block levels to communities. It covers 1205 villages in 22 blocks of six coastal districts of the state which are prone to multifarious hydro-meteorological disasters like cyclones, floods and tsunamis.

 

Satellites:
  • India has proved its capabilities in satellite technologies by launching various earth observation satellites, disaster specific satellites.
  • These satellites are used for early developments of disasters like cyclones, heat waves, cold waves.
  • During disasters also satellites provides direct view of disaster affected areas, communication networks, identification of possible shelter areas etc.

 

Examples:

RESOURCESAT, South Asia Satellite, RISAT, INSAT 3D. India also use Terra and Aqua Satellites of NASA for forest fires detection along RISAT.

 

Drones and Social Media

  • In 2015, the social media platform, Twitter, was used by a number of government groups and people to share vital information (helpline phone numbers, train schedules, relief counters, weather forecasts, etc) about the Chennai floods on Twitter.
  • This became a test case for Twitter, and showed government agencies on how social media platforms could be leveraged for effective communication related to natural disasters.
  • During the 2013 Uttarakhand floods, drones were used to locate missing people and scan the terrain to provide relevant updated information to the authorities.
  • Recently, students from IIT Madras developed an AI-enabled drone that can help authorities provide vital information on people trapped in disaster-hit areas.
  • Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram offer various features like Marking Safety of people, identification of safe areas, pin pointing stranded people.

 

GIS and GPS:
  • Tamil Nadu has built a web GIS based system called TNSMART. This application, which is developed in collaboration with ISRO, has modules related to thresholds, hazard forecast, disaster impact forecast, advisory, response planning, etc.
  • Similarly, Karnataka has a GPS enabled system for near real-time monitoring and communication of disasters in the state. In India, the Government has encouraged the use of digital technologies in ensuring help during disasters. For example, the Digital India Action Group (DIAG) recently released a white paper on using IoT for effective disaster management.

 

Internet:
  • Internet has the potential to reach the millions of people even in the remotest corner of the country within considerable time. Nowadays internet is provided through satellite technology, thus it provides round the clock connectivity even during disasters.
  • Reach of internet can be used to identify stranded people, most affected areas, dissemination of information, awareness generation, crowdsourcing etc.

 

Case Study: Kerala

Kerala State IT Mission has developed a crisis management platform and hosted and made available to the public available at the URL www.keralarescue.in It was up and running within 12 hours after the first day of flooding in 2018.

The text-based rescue requests posted were enhanced to capture geo-coordinates automatically and the geo-tagged information provided by the people in this portal came handy for the rescue teams during rescue operations.

With each disaster, there are numerous lessons to be learnt. India needs to document best practices that were observed during each disaster and ensure that these are captured in the form of a knowledge management platform, coupled with modern e-learning tools, so that each state can learn from each other and put in place systems that are ready for handling disasters of the future.