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Information that reaches the public on disasters has tended to focus on disasters of magnitude, loss of life, property and infrastructure.



ICT (information and communications technology) is the umbrella term for the range of tools, applications, systems used to input, store, edit, retrieve, analyse, synthesise and process information and share data in all its forms. ICT encompasses: radio, television, broadband, satellite and cellular mobile phones, computer and network hardware and software, websites, portals, remote sensing, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as data storage, analysis and integration, videoconferencing and distance learning.

Climate change is a global phenomenon affecting the lives of mankind. In time of calamities we need information and communication technology for disaster management.Various organizations, government agencies and small and large-scale research projects have been exploring the use of ICT for relief operations, providing early warnings and monitoring extreme weather events. A review of new ICTs and climate change in developing countries highlighted that ICT can be used for (1) Monitoring: observing, detecting and predicting, and informing science and decision making; (2) Disaster management: supporting emergency response through communications and information sharing, and providing early warning systems; and (3) Adaptation: supporting environmental, health and resource management activities, up-scaling technologies and building resilience.

The United Nations defines a disaster as a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society. Disasters involve widespread human, material, economic or environmental impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

During disasters, information is as much a necessity as water, food and medicine.Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are thus among the lifelines. The right kind of information communicated and used at the right time can save lives,livelihoods and resources.


Category of the action


What actions do you propose?

The key actions are:

The Community in Disaster Management: Disasters vary in scale, severity, and duration, but there is one constant: the impacts are inherently local. Risk information – particularly when gathered and assessed through sophisticated technologies must be expressed in terms and language meaningful to those at risk, and framed within their overall development aspirations and survival strategies.

  1. Timely and Effective Delivery of Early Warnings to the ‘Last Mile’ : People-centred approaches to early warning systems (EWS) are predicated on the assumption that people can be capable, resilient and able to protect themselves given accurate, timely, consistent and actionable information from a trusted source.Such approaches require that individuals and communities at risk, particularly those at the ‘last mile’, understand the threats to their lives and property, share this awareness with others, and are able to take action to avoid or reduce their exposure. The use of different technologies, preferably one-to-many, is viewed as the effective strategy to deliver early warnings. Any one or a combination of the following media has been used.
  1. Radio and Television: Radio and television remain the traditional media used in disaster management, because they are relatively cheap, provide a reliable one-to-many communication medium and most importantly, do not require literacy. Radio in particular is the most accessible medium to the poor, especially women in their homes, or fishermen at sea, workers out in the fields. While, television is reportedly making inroads.
  2. Satellite Radio: Satellite radio receives its signal from a communication satellite and therefore has a wider geographical range than terrestrial radio. It is very useful when transmission towers are damaged. A satellite radio, combined with fixed or mobile phones was shown to be the most effective and reliable of five ICT tools in eight combinations tested for transmitting early warning information from government agencies
  3. Telephones (Fixed and Mobile): Telephones (fixed and mobile) are useful in disseminating one-to-one disaster warnings. Mobile phones were the main tool for implementing a community-based flood monitoring and early warning system. Short message service (SMS), a feature available in most mobile phones is an additional tool for delivering one-to-many text-based disaster alerts.
  4. Cell Broadcasting: Cell broadcasting (CB) is a one-to-many geographically focused text messaging service. It is already integrated in most existing network infrastructure so there is no additional cost from laying of cables, purchase of new software or new handsets. It uses a dedicated channel and therefore is not affected by traffic load nor does it add to main channel load. It is geo-scalable so one message can reach millions in a minute; it is geo-specific, so the broadcast can be targeted at specific at-risk areas thus avoiding widespread panic. Equally important, a single CB channel can broadcast the message in multiple languages.
  5. Satellite Remote Sensing and Other Technologies: Preparing for drought requires the collection and analysis of weather, rainfall, vegetation data to monitor changes over time, and modelling the impacts on cropping systems. This is best done with satellite remote sensing. Using GIS, all the satellite data are combined with regional analyses of grain stocks and prices, political conditions and input availability to create early warning for drought-related food shortages.

2. Rapid, Reliable Two-way Communication in Challenged Environments: The period immediately after a disaster strikes is considered the most difficult, fluid, and confused. Both one-to-one and one-to-many, preferably two-way communication channels are needed.

  1. Mobile Phones: The usefulness and the limitations of mobile phones in crisis situations. Widespread mobile phone subscribership and 24-hour connectivity allowed large-scale SMS-based evacuation and rescue operations. Survivors who were marooned used mobile phones to guide rescue teams to where they were, to tell district officials of their immediate needs, and local television and newspapers, their plight.
  2. Wireless Ad-hoc Mesh Networks with GPS: When infrastructure is compromised or damaged the common response currently is to deploy satellite communication equipment, cellular and wireless infrastructure and microwave links since they are immediately usable and scalable. Wireless technologies are particularly attractive because they function in difficult terrains and their deployment is relatively inexpensive.
  3. Internet and e-Mail: The Internet is acknowledged to be one of the most reliable information infrastructures even under adverse physical conditions, and electronic mail, its most widely used application.
  4. Radio

3. Creating a Common Operational Picture: Voice communication is typically viewed as the immediate need prior to and after the onset of a disaster, but as noted above geospatial data are equally critical for assessing damage, planning relief operations and coordinating relief activities.

  1. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  2. GIS, Satellite Remote Sensing, GPS

4. Establishing Transparency and Accountability: A major disaster generally triggers an outpouring of technical and financial assistance from ordinary citizens around the world, usually channelled through donors and NGOs. Web 2.0 tools enable information sharing, collaboration and creation of user-enerated content, in areas with broadband Internet connection. People serving as ‘sensors’, crowdsourcing information from mobile phone, email, RSS feeds, the web, and feeding it to decision-makers, add immense value to search and rescue operations and impose transparency in aid allocation and delivery.


Who will take these actions?

The key actors are:

Government leader, National and local governments, Political parties, Communication medias, NGOs, INGOs, Banks, Private sector, local civil society and governmental institutions and other concerned parties.

Where will these actions be taken?

The actions are mostly taken in those areas of the world were natural disasters are mostly occurred such as European Union, China, etc. It also taken from any part of the world.

What are other key benefits?


The key benefits are:

1.Disaster preparedness

2. Response/Relief

3. Recovery/Rehabilitation

4. Reconstruction

What are the proposal’s costs?

Proposal cost will be determined by the type of project, Site of project, duration of time, implementing agencies, type of technology used in project site and number of beneficiaries groups of local communities and vice versa.

Time line

Depending on the nature of project, site of project, amount of budget, type of technology used in project site and number of beneficiaries groups of local communities. Generally, the project time line in short term 5-15 years for baseline survey, creating awareness of local communities, building networks, Research. After, 15 years, in medium term 15-25 years, implement the project activities timely and monitor regularly. After, 25 years, long term evaluate the project goals and outcomes as well as and number of beneficiaries groups of local communities.

Related proposals


IBRD. (2010) Safer Homes, Stronger Communities: A Handbook. Chapter 17, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington: pp. 253-268.

Karanasios, S. (2011). New and Emergent ICTs and Climate Change in Developing Countries. In R. Heeks & A. Ospina (Eds.). Manchester: Centre for Development Informatics, Institute for Development Policy and Management, SED, International Development Research Centre.Reduction in Asia and The Pacific, UNESCAP, Bangkok.

TechTarget (2004) ICT. Newton, MA: TechTarget.[Online] Available:,,sid183_gci928405,00.html

UNESCAP. (2008) Information and Communication Technology-enabled Disaster Risk