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Overcoming challenges in deploying ICT solutions for disaster response

Overcoming challenges in deploying ICT solutions for disaster response

ICT and communications solutions are vital to disaster response operations. The latest figures show that the total number of internet users worldwide is 3.17 billion, up from 2.94 billion last year. The rapid expansion of access in developing countries promises almost boundless opportunities for innovation. However, actually deploying new technology presents challenges.

China is one of the world’s most disaster-affected countries. On the surface, it has a strong overall internet infrastructure, but UNESCAP’s research reveals a ‘digital divide’ where only around half the population has access to the internet or owns a mobile phone.

In Sri Lanka, mobile phone subscriptions outnumber people (116 to every 100 persons). But when tropical cyclone Roanu struck in mid-May, the government’s Disaster Management Centre failed to use mobile communications to warn at-risk citizens.

Innovators around the world are now providing platforms that allow people to contact emergency services via mobile technology. In addition, the same platforms can facilitate instant communication between coordinators and first responders. Elsewhere, drones and satellites can provide up to date GIS and images of disaster zones, enabling better and quicker decisions in the field.

Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) is delighted to announce Atefeh Riazi, CIO at the United Nations and Executive Director of CIOs Without Borders, as a keynote speaker at the upcoming Global Disaster Relief Summit in Washington D.C.

Ms Riazi is an expert in the field of information technology and was ranked #49 in the top 100 global CIOs. In her role at CIOs Without Borders, she focuses on the humanitarian applications of technology and innovation.

Global Disaster Relief Summit 2016 will feature presentations and panels led by world-leading experts and innovators in the field of ICT and disaster relief, including:·

  • Hani Shannak, Chief Operations & Services, IT Services & Solutions, UNICEF
  • David Hartshorn, Secretary General, Global VSAT Forum
  • Steve Hunt, CIO, Team Rubicon Hughes

Topics to be addressed at the Summit will include, but are not limited to:

  • Update on latest innovations in communication technology, social networks and data sharing solutions for relief agencies
  • Strengthening resilience and early-warning systems through information sharing
  • Addressing ethics & data privacy and the real data risks
  • Achieving an agile approach for communication and information management
  • Discussing latest trends and innovations for communication with affected communities
  • Update on the new Crisis Connectivity Charter
  • Lessons learnt from previous emergencies

Global Disaster Relief Summit 2016 will take place on 7-8 September 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre in Washington D.C. providing plenty of opportunities to exchange experience and ideas for developing technically sound international humanitarian and development assistance. For more information about the Summit, please visit http://goo.gl/CA4L0k

Register your participation now to join 350+ decision makers from UN and government agencies, Red Cross, NGOs, donors and foundations, military, relief agencies and the private sector.

IMAGE SOURCE: Voa News