Disastrous events can pose a major challenge to governments. Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis and epidemics can take a heavy toll on both life and property. Huge amounts of finances and other resources are required to provide relief efforts, rescue or recover victims and to rebuild and rehabilitate damaged infrastructure and facilities. Thus, every government should develop the capability to manage disasters; but how can this be done?
Taking lessons from past disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Andrew and the devastating 2008 tornado season which cost the government billions of dollars, several local governments have implemented more effective practices and regulations that enable communities to better cope with disasters as well as mitigate impacts and hasten recovery. In all these efforts, information and communications technology or ICT plays a significant role.
Generally speaking, ICT’s support to disaster management can be provided by way of data collection and monitoring, networking, information dissemination, expert analysis systems and storing relevant databases. One particular technology that has been especially helpful in disaster management is remote sensing, the use of aerial photographs and satellite images in viewing disaster-prone or disaster-stricken areas.
Disaster management largely depends on accurate information delivered in a timely manner and this underlines the importance of information technology. This is why many governments spend millions of dollars just to set up their ICT infrastructure for disaster preparedness. Top-of-the-line computers and communication equipment are utilized to deliver information rapidly and efficiently, such as the dark fibre provided by this site, a telecom solutions provider. Technologies such as these ensure that relevant and current information is available to all disaster management stakeholders at all times.
Managing disasters has many aspects, from prediction, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. In all these stages, information is needed. Practically, ICT has been found most beneficial in recording and analyzing information as well as in disseminating it. In the event of disasters, decision makers have to rely on date provided by these information systems before making quick and important decisions.
There is a wide range of applications wherein ICT can be used in disaster preparedness. These can include early warning systems, hazard mapping, disaster simulation, data collection, risk assessment and monitoring, disaster forecasting, relief effort planning, and decision-support systems.
Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. Some calamities, like earthquakes and flashfloods, are impossible to predict. The magnitude of their destruction can be a big question mark as well. Regardless of the impact of these disasters, it is best to prepare for them through proper disaster management. Fortunately, we have technology on our side to help achieve it.