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Can Technology Really Help in Disaster Management?

fig 1Experiencing a natural disaster is not a new phenomenon around the world, but the responsiveness to save lives is what sets us apart from our ancestors.

With the current emphasis focused on climate change, man-induced disruption of natural habitat has taken place, like encroaching forest landmasses as well as destroying biodiversity regions that have fueled the frequency of natural calamity.

Following which new regions all over the world, apart from disaster-prone ones, are experiencing the wrath of natural disasters. And though human disruptions have been the main instigators of these calamities, it is only human’s technological solutions that will wield us the sword to combat these disasters.

In recent years, we have seen the rapid relief efforts of various government as well as humanitarian disaster management teams in disaster-prone areas that have saved the lives of various people.

Latest Technology in Disaster Management can be implemented through aerial robotics or via big data analytics. Thus, technology has enabled us to expedite and magnify the reach of humanitarian relief efforts with greater efficiency and responsiveness.

But what is the limit of using Latest Technology in Disaster Management? And is it effective in real-time? Let’s dig a little deeper to explore these questions.

Why do We need Latest Technology in Disaster Management?

fig 2As we are transcending toward smart devices, cities and digitalized world, we have gained better devices and technology to command a situation as we see fit if utilized effectively. Here are some of the basic reasons that inspire us to adopt Latest Technology in Disaster Management.

Technology provides better mobility and access instead of traditional means where lives of responders are at risk

Fig 3Aerial robotics like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones possess tremendous potential to transform humanitarian aid. Using this Latest Technology in Disaster Management, rescue teams whether government-based or independent ones can easily map the affected terrain more effectively while assessing damage in real-time. This, in turn, increases situational awareness through high-resolution mapping and helps rescue workers to deliver items faster, cheaper and more efficiently.

Lower in cost, lighter in weight and quieter than helicopters, with set pre-programmed routes enable these UAVs to fly in life-threatening conditions, thus providing access to otherwise unreachable areas.

Another Latest Technology in Disaster Management, infrared cameras and advanced listening systems can enable drones to uncover survivors from rubble or flames and live-stream night footage, therefore, increasing the success of these critical rescue efforts.

Technology breaks down communication barriers to enable connectivity 

Another Latest Technology in Disaster Management is the power of connectivity. Basic connectivity is another form of aid that can connect people to the much-needed resources critical for survival and in turn, enables humanitarian organizations to quickly deliver life-saving information.

Mobile solutions, as well as social media communities, provide a new way for organizations to communicate 

fig 4Under the Government’s initiative to combat disaster in India’s flood-prone areas of Odisha, the state has implemented an Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS).

The system establishes a fool proof communication system that can address as well as forewarn any dissemination disaster happening anywhere around the state, district and block levels.

This system integrates technologies like digital mobile radio, location-based alert systems and remotely operated siren systems. The early warning dissemination is a fail-proof feature that operates on a 24/7 basis in all circumstances. Thus, securing a place in the Latest Technology in Disaster Management.

Big data analytics creates a new era of data intelligence for disaster response

As vast amounts of data are generated during times of disaster ranging from personal and medical data, to that of geolocation of roads, as well as tracking of survivors, and many more. And here is when we can integrate the Latest Technology in Disaster Management.

Effectively leveraging this data may present some challenges, but when effectively implemented, it can provide crucial information on which way to act, prioritizes and how to optimize response efforts via crowdsourcing, to enhance situational awareness.

Utilizing AI to get speedier disaster response 

Though still a Latest Technology in Disaster Management that is under research, AI can revolutionize the responsive rate of disaster management to new heights.

McKinsey’s Noble Intelligence is just one such example of an initiative that is trying to harness AI’s potential to support humanitarian causes. For example, their team is currently developing an algorithm to reduce the time it takes to assess damage to buildings like schools, using a combination of satellite, geospatial and weather, etc.

This data can then be effectively used to identify the best places to set up temporary school tents and where to prioritize reconstruction efforts.

Conclusion

After encountering several cases of Latest Technology in Disaster Management, the main challenge is to create a long-term digital foundation for response teams so that they can invest, test and adapts themselves to these technology solutions before disasters.

And though, technology can never replace the vital resources people need in a disaster like food, water, shelter, it can still provide the means to get the survivors better disaster relief efforts.

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Aishwarya Saxena

A book geek, with creative mind, an electronics degree, and zealous for writing.Creativity is the one thing in her opinion which drove her to enter into editing field. Allured towards south Indian cuisine and culture, love to discover new cultures and their customs. Relishes in discovering new music genres.

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