Information Technology for Disaster Prevention


 

Information Technology for Disaster Prevention

 

Science and Technology, is not only important to hazard mapping but also to facilitate disaster prevention planning. Information technology (IT), which has significant implications for disaster management.

 

Decision Support and Public Awareness

 

  • The Internet and the World Wide Web have opened up department specific web sites, which provide information in specialised branches of disaster management.
  • Some of these web sites are openly accessible to people which disseminate valuable information for interest articulation and academic deliberation which lead to fruitful policy.
  • There are specialised web sites on natural hazards such as earthquakes and cyclones that provide comprehensive information regarding specific natural hazards.
  • Such web sites also form ‘knowledge bases’ in that a web site on earthquakes would present all information on the hazard and ways to deal with it.
  • These plays as an important decision support tools that facilitate real time knowledge transfer from the emergency site.

Information Sharing

 

  • The Information Communication Revolution has made setting up of local area and wide area networks known as INTRANETS and EXTRANETS that link up institutions over distant regions and facilitate information sharing even on a global basis.
  • The integration of information technology (IT) with telecommunication interface modalities have made possible facilities like video teleconferencing, which provide for direct interface between aid givers and official agencies at the emergency site during real time emergencies.
  • These also provide for ‘knowledge networking’ across institutions, especially research institutions that facilitates building data base for disaster prevention for different regions during ‘peace times’.
  • Another significant development has been the Geographical Information System (GIS), by which detailed spatial analysis of ‘at risk’ area is accomplished through satellite imagery.
  • Comprehensive information is collected about the area, which can be displayed graphically, on a map.
  • This helps in highlighting critical facilities and communities at risk, available communication infrastructure for aid provision etc. which guides immediate disaster response in the short run, and facilitates risk mapping, risk assessment, dissemination of information, public awareness etc. over the long run, which aid long term policy planning for disaster mitigation.
  • The GIS has greatly facilitated response effort as strategies can be devised on the basis of scientific simulation studies and scenario analysis using information through remote sensing.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has commissioned a satellite based communication system called Cyclone Warning Dissemination System for quick dissemination of cyclone warning in coastal areas in local languages.

 

Policy Planning

 

  • Information Technology has greatly aided disaster response planning and preparedness.
  • Information technology has made policy for disaster risk reduction more fact based and less judgemental.
  • Even so, policy making for traffic, transport, forest conservation, urban congestion etc is facilitated by spatial imagery through remote sensing.
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