Real Life ICT Successes with Disaster Management

In class we have been talking a lot about different technologies and different ways that they can help not only in development, but in different aspects of our lives. Last week we also talked about a lot of failures that ICT projects have faced, so I wanted to find some examples of where ICTs made a huge difference in helping, or where ICTs could have helped and made it even better. The ITU released a report in 2008 that outlined the role of Telecommunications and ICTs in disaster management. This report was originally made for a conference in Southern and Eastern Africa to outline the benefits of ICTs in disaster management.

One of the examples highlighted in the report was the importance of ICTs during the reconstruction after the floods in Zambia. After the floods the ITU set up 25 satellite terminals to help restore communication in Zambia after houses, schools, and roads were destroyed. These satellite terminals were integral in the rebuilding and relief efforts because without them communication between different effected areas would have been nearly impossible.

The report also outlines how ICTs can help with different early warning systems for disasters. Two different examples presented in the article are Alertnet and even the importance of online media. The report also discusses how ICTs can be helpful in the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery phases of disaster preparedness. In all of these different phases ICTs are a vital part of communication and can be integral in saving lives.

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2 responses to “Real Life ICT Successes with Disaster Management

  • jessports

    You may also be interested in a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) that came out much more recently on the topic of ICTs and disasters/emergencies. http://www.ifrc.org/publications-and-reports/world-disasters-report/world-disasters-report-2013/

  • briannasteinmetz

    I agree with your post, as I think there are endless uses for ICTs in disaster management which could significantly improve response and save lives. Early warning systems, GIS and remote sensing, radio and television, cell phones, and the internet can all act as mediums in which to disperse information to help protect the public. While there are a lot of flaws within the implementation of these ICTs due to various barriers to access, such as language, technology availability, etc., it has had an overall positive impact. During the 2011 Pakistani floods, a program launched using Frontline SMS to help in disaster recovery by giving the victims a voice to file complaints, such as corruption or lack of food/water. FrontlineSMS proved to be a success in Pakistan as it helped to more efficiently and effectively distribute aid.

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