It for Disaster Management

Topics: Geographic information system, Emergency management, Warning system Pages: 16 (5141 words) Published: April 15, 2013
IT For Disaster Management

Nicolas Mancini

Solvay Business School (Brussels)


Table Of Contents

I. Abstract
II. Brief overview of Disaster Management
a. Key concepts
b. Disaster Management Cycle
III. IT solutions for Disaster Management
c. Disaster Management Information Systems (DMIS)
d. IT for Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation
i. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
e. IT for Response
ii. Case Study : Sahana
f. IT for Recovery
iii. Specific softwares
IV. Challenges of the future
g. Global Disaster Information Network
V. Conclusion
VI. References


I. Abstract

The aim of this paper is to shed light on the role of Information Technology in Disaster Management (DM) and to discuss how far IT solutions can offer aid to fasten recovery and reduce human and economic loss. Annual global disaster costs are rising since the last decades due to higher urbanization in sensitive areas and an increasing complexity of our infrastructure. As clearly, no society is immune from natural disaster threat, it is imperative to take advantage of the huge technological innovation in terms of communication to create a Global Disaster Information Network to make information about disasters as user-friendly, available, reliable and accurate as possible for the disaser management community. In this paper will be discussed the most common information systems and softwares used to increase the efficiency of every phase in DM aswell as the research and findings of the Disaster Information Task Force about the feasability of establishing a Global Disaster Information Network.

II. Brief overview of Disaster Management

Also referred to as emergency management, disaster management consists of ‘’The actions taken by an organization in response to unexpected events that are adversely affecting people or resources and threatening the continued operation of the organization’’ (Qfinance Dictionary), i.e. the planned steps taken to minimize the effects of natural disasters such as fire, floods, and earthquakes. Disaster Management is a domain strongly related to crisis and risk management. There is no country totally immune from a natural disaster, though the vulnerability of the country will depend a lot of its geographical and economic situation. It will depend also on the countries available technology in terms of early disaster warning and their ability to react when they occur. In general we can assert that the continent of Asia is the most vulnerable region to earthquakes and cyclones (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 2007) with a ratio of 70% of deaths of the total number of victims in the world due to natural disasters, followed by America (12,2%). Africa and Europe are less concerned by these phenomenons (respectively 6,6% and 5%). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported in the past decades a significant increase of the annual global economics costs related to disaster events average over $440 billion per year (figures from 1996) unlike the number of lives lost, which is decreasing. Soaring annual structural costs can be explained, according to the Disaster Information Task Force (more information later on in the paper), by an augmenting urbanization, particularly in high-risk coastal areas, and the increasingly complexity of our infrastructure. The tumbling number of deaths can be explained by the fact that people are more aware of eventual natural disasters when building or finding a home, technological innovations, stronger foundations, better warning systems and so forth.

a. Key Concepts

We distinguish four main types of disasters; the most frequent ones are the natural disasters (floods, hurricanes,...
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