Bangladesh University of Professionals

Supervised by:
Asst Prof Dr. Mostafizur Rahman
Lecturer, DHSM, BUP
Submitted By:
Mahir Faisal
Department : Disaster and Human Security Management
ID number: 1501059
Course code: 3207
Course name: Disaster Risk Reduction Principles and Practices
As we all know that we are living in an era of information, communication and technology based present and surrounding so it is obvious that each and every sector will possess great importance regarding ICT sectors. DRR also has significant linkages with ICT to resilient the community and reduce the losses and damages. This paper will focus on how ICT can be effectively used in DRR and will enlighten the perspectives in national and international scenario.

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The term ‘disaster’, meaning ‘bad star’ in Latin, is defined as an impact of a natural or man-made hazard that causes human suffering or creates human needs that the victims cannot alleviate without assistance. The word’s root is from astrology and implies that when the stars are in a bad position, a bad event is about to happen. In a recent document published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Americas, a disaster is defined as ‘a social crisis situation occurring when a physical phenomenon of natural, socio-natural or anthropogenic origin negatively impacts vulnerable populations causing intense, serious and widespread disruption of the normal functioning of the affected social unit’. According to another widespread definition, disasters occur when hazards strike in vulnerable areas.

In development circles today, disaster management is often treated holistically rather than as a single issue. It is an essential component of any development framework. Proper disaster management has been recognized as a key requirement towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the specified target of 2015. Meanwhile, information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) has been recognized as one of the key enablers for achieving the MDGs. (Wattegama and Krasae Chanawongse., 2007)
Number of Disasters by Origin: Regional Distribution, 1995–2004

Source (base map): UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Europe.November 2004. EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database – – Université Catholique de Louvain – Brussels-Belgium, 2004.

* Includes disasters with at least 2,000 people killed or US$10 billion of economic losses (2002 US$ value).

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is: “The concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyze and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.”
DRM is: “The systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster… Disaster risk management aims to avoid, lessen or transfer the adverse effects of hazards through activities and measures for prevention, mitigation and preparedness.”
In 1990 the global community on disaster management joined together when the United Nations General Assembly designated the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) with the objective to decrease the loss of life, property destruction and social and economic disruption caused by natural disasters. At the end of the IDNDR decade, UNISDR came into place with the aim to pursue the initiatives and cooperation agreed upon during the IDNDR. Meanwhile, the field of disaster management witnessed a paradigm shift in its strategy and approach towards dealing with disaster risks. From the early 1980s to late 1990s, countries focused on providing relief and humanitarian aid as quickly as possible after a disaster, to prevent further loss of life and destruction. At that time, disaster management related policy and programmes were oriented to post-disaster response. Following the Great Hanshin earthquake (also known as the Kobe earthquake) on 17 January 1995, the global community on disaster management unanimously decided to work on reducing the impact of disasters. Since then, the focus of disaster management on post-disaster events has evolved into a more proactive DRM approach, elaborated in the DRM cycle. (Holly Sims and Kevin Vogelmann, “Popular Mobilization and Disaster Management in Cuba,” Public Administration and Development, 22, (2002), pp. 389-400.) (UNISDR, 2009 UNISDR Terminology.)
Figure: Disaster Risk Management Cycle

Note: Based on the TORQAID model, slightly modified to include two arrows on mitigation
The cycle in is modeled as part of an upward development trajectory. In order for development to be sustainable, DRM is incorporated into development activities in what is called the “normal stage”. Disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness take place simultaneously at this stage. In the event of a disaster, the development trajectory is brought down and disaster response dominates the DRM activity. Disaster recovery is planned and executed with the objective of bringing the affected communities back to a sustainable development path.(United Nations and The World Bank, Natural Hazards and UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention (Washington D.C., The World Bank, 2010), p. 2,
Problem Statement: Information and communications technology (ICT) represents an enormous opportunity to introduce significant and lasting positive change across the developing world. The rapid penetration of mobile access in particular has resulted in considerable improvements in the lives of the poor in both rural and urban contexts. All evidence suggests that this trend is going to continue, as the availability expands and the cost of access continues to decline.

Sustainability and scale
Pace of change
Changing roles and norms
Rationale of the study:
Providing an overview of the information needs in different disaster management activities;
Discussing risk communication as a framework for the exchange of information with the public;
Providing examples of the specific needs in disaster response and post disaster recovery and reconstruction with ICT solutions employed to answer those needs; and
Providing an overview of ICT solutions
Access to reliable, accurate, and timely information at all levels of society is crucial immediately before, during, and after a disaster. Without information, individuals and institutions are often forced to make crucial decisions based on sketchy, conflicting reports and best guesses. Information on disaster risk and disaster events must also be shared with the general public as stakeholders in the DRM process. ICTs have their advantages in information sharing and management that can be utilized to improve DRM.

Research questions:
Which type of interconnections are there between ICT and DRR?
Is it really an important factor in reducing disasters?
How much ICT has contributed during hazardous events and how much it could have contributed or the future contribution could be?
Literature Review
The first important steps towards reducing disaster impact are to correctly analyze the potential risk and identify measures that can prevent, mitigate or prepare for emergencies. ICT can play a significant role in highlighting risk areas, vulnerabilities and potentially affected populations by producing geographically referenced analysis through, for example, a geographic information system (GIS). The importance of timely disaster warning in mitigating negative impacts can never be underestimated. For example, although damage to property cannot be avoided, developed countries have been able to reduce loss of life due to disasters much more effectively than their counterparts in the developing world. A key reason for this is the implementation of effective disaster warning systems and evacuation procedures used by the developed countries, and the absence of such measures in the developing world.

A major landslip after the earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
A warning can be defined as the communication of information about a hazard or threat to a population at risk, in order for them to take appropriate actions to mitigate any potentially negative impacts on themselves, those in their care and their property. The occurrence of a hazard does not necessarily result in a disaster. While hazards cannot be avoided, their negative impacts can be mitigated. The goal of early public warning is to ensure to the greatest extent possible that the hazard does not become a disaster. Such warnings must be unambiguous, communicate the risks succinctly and provide necessary guidance. The success of a warning can be measured by the actions that it causes people to take, such as evacuation or avoiding at-risk areas. In a disaster situation, there is no doubt that timely warnings allow people to take actions that save lives, reduce damage to property and minimize human suffering. To facilitate an effective warning system, there is a major need for better coordination among the early warning providers as well as those handling logistics and raising awareness about disaster preparedness and management. (Samarajiva et al., 2005).

Key Players in Disaster Warning
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) identifies several key parties that play major roles in the disaster management process, especially in disaster warning (UN/ISDR, 2006).

Communities, particularly those most vulnerable, are vital to people-centred early warning systems. Their input into system design and their ability to respond ultimately determine the extent of risk associated with natural hazards. Communities should be aware of hazards and potential negative impacts to which they are exposed and be able to take specific actions to minimize the threat of loss or damage. As such, the geographic location of a community is an essential determinant in the selection of disasters on which the system should focus their community education. For example,coastal communities need to be educated and prepared for the possibility of a tsunami, while a mountain community can be educated to respond to an early warning system for landslides.

Local governments should have considerable knowledge of the hazards to which their communities are exposed. They must be actively involved in the design and maintenance of early warning systems, and understand information received to be able to advise, instruct or engage the local population in a manner that increases their safety and reduces the potential loss of resources on which the community depends.

National governments are responsible for policies and frameworks that facilitate early warning, in addition to the technical systems necessary for the preparation and issuance of timely and effective hazard warnings for their respective countries. They should ensure that warnings and related responses are directed towards the most vulnerable populations through the design of holistic disaster response and early warning frameworks that address the specific needs of the related micro- and macro-level actors. The provision of support to local communities and local governments to develop operational capabilities is an essential function to translate early warning knowledge into risk reduction practices.

Regional institutions and organizations should provide specialized knowledge and advice in support of national efforts to develop or sustain the operational capabilities of countries that share a common geographical environment. Regional organizations are crucial to linking international capabilities to the particular needs of individual countries and in facilitating effective early warning practices among adjacent countries.

International bodies should provide support for national early warning activities and foster the exchange of data and knowledge between individual countries. Support may include the provision of advisory information, technical assistance, and policy and organizational support necessary to ensure the development and operational capabilities of national authorities or agencies responsible for early warning practice.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a critical role in raising awareness among individuals and organizations involved in early warning and in the implementation of early warning systems, particularly at the community level. In addition, they play an important advocacy role to help ensure that early warning stays on the agenda of government policy makers. (Wattegama and Krasae Chanawongse., 2007)
GIS and Remote Sensing in Disaster Management
GIS can be loosely defined as a system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval, mapping and analysis of geographic data. Spatial features are stored in a coordinate system (latitude, longitude, state, plane, etc.) that references a particular place on the earth. Descriptive attributes in tabular form are associated with spatial features. Spatial data and associated attributes in the same coordinate system can then be layered together for mapping and analysis. GIS can be used for scientific investigations, resource management and development planning.

Remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object. In practice, remote sensing is the remote utilization (as from aircraft, spacecraft, satellite or ship) of any device for gathering information about the environment. Thus, an aircraft taking photographs, earth observation and weather satellites, monitoring of a foetus in the womb via ultrasound, and space probes are all examples of remote sensing. In modern usage, the term generally refers to techniques involving the use of instruments aboard aircraft and spacecraft.

As disaster management work usually involves a large number of different agencies working in different areas, the need for detailed geographical information in order to make critical decisions is high. By utilizing a GIS, agencies involved in the response can share information through databases on computer-generated maps in one location. Without this capability, disaster management workers have to access a number of department managers, their unique maps and their unique data. Most disasters do not allow time to gather these resources. GIS thus provides a mechanism to centralize and visually display critical information during an emergency. There is an obvious advantage to using a map with remote sensing or GIS inputs instead of a static geographical map. A static map is mostly analogous and is not interactive. On the other hand, a vulnerability map with GIS input provides dynamic information with cause and effect relationship.
(Jayaraman,V. 2006.’Framework for Regional Cooperation on Space Technology Supported Disaster Reduction Strategies in Asia and the Pacific’. Presentation at the ESCAP Meeting of Eminent Experts, 3-4 August 2006, Bangkok, Thailand;)
( Northwest GIS Services, Inc.
(Raheja,Naresh, Ruby Ojha and Sunil R Mallik.Role of internet-based GIS in effective natural disaster management.;)
Difference Between an Ordinary (2D) Map and a Map with GIS Input
Vulnerability map without GIS Vulnerability map with GIS
Static Information Dynamic Information
Source: UNOSAT, 2004.

Implementation Plan of the Tsunami Early Warning System
Source: ADPC.

Research gap: It’s a huge concept which contains so many information’s and other knowledge’s so its very hard to cover all the information in one paper. So I have tried to cover all the contents and important parts which should be included in my research paper. Because of so many information I will consider the research gap as not covering the whole write ups which includes ICT and DRR relations.

Methodology: In my research I have considered mostly the secondary sources as I didn’t found primary sources that much regarding my topic and the according to the necessity of my topic. So I have gone through many of the articles and online journals and I tried to incorporate the most important parts of those. Proper citation and references have been given to make my research worthy.

It is essential that we look at disaster management from the development angle. It is no longer either a one-off or stand-alone activity. Despite the fact that disaster preparedness has not been identified as one of the MDGs, it is apparent that proper mechanisms for disaster awareness and means of disaster recovery are essential to achieving the MDGs. In particular, the MDG targets such as integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, and reversing the loss of environmental resources can never be achieved without giving due emphasis to effective disaster management strategies.

The key priorities for the future, as illustrated by the UN/ISDR report ‘Living with Risk'(2004), can be extremely useful to help understand the prospects of ICT in disaster risk reduction. First, as the report points out, there is a need for disaster and risk reduction to be an essential part of the broader concerns of sustainable development and hence the need to make sure that risk assessments and vulnerability reduction measures are taken into account in different fields, such as environmental management, poverty reduction and financial management.
Second, it is essential to note that current development practices do not necessarily reduce community vulnerability to disasters – indeed, ill-advised and misdirected development practices may actually increase disaster risks. A considerable challenge remains in raising awareness of this concern and to influence and enhance existing development projects, poverty reduction strategies and other programmes to systematically reduce disaster risk.

Third, political commitment by public and private policy makers and local community leaders, based on an understanding of risks and disaster reduction concepts, is fundamental to achieving change.

Finally, even though national and local authorities bear the main responsibility for the safety of their people, it is the international community’s duty to advocate policies and actions in developing countries that pursue informed and well-designed disaster risk reduction strategies, and to ensure that their own programmes reduce disaster risks.

Wattegama, C. and Krasae Chanawongse. (2007). ICT for disaster management. Bangkok: UNDP-APDIP. Sims and Kevin Vogelmann, “Popular Mobilization and Disaster Management in Cuba,” Public Administration and Development, 22, (2002), pp. 389-400.

2009 UNISDR Terminology
United Nations and The World Bank, Natural Hazards and UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention (Washington D.C., The World Bank, 2010), p. 2,,V. 2006.’Framework for Regional Cooperation on Space Technology Supported Disaster Reduction Strategies in Asia and the Pacific’. Presentation at the ESCAP Meeting of Eminent Experts, 3-4 August 2006, Bangkok, Thailand;
Northwest GIS Services, Inc. http://www.nwgis.comRaheja,Naresh, Ruby Ojha and Sunil R Mallik.Role of internet-based GIS in effective natural disaster management.;


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