Disasters Roundtable: Opportunities for Information and Technological Recovery


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Prutsalis talk before the Disasters Roundtable, National Academy of Sciences,, March 21, 2012: Opportunities in Information and Technological Recovery

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Disasters Roundtable: Opportunities for Information and Technological Recovery

  1. 1. Opportunities in Information and Technological Recovery The Importance of Information in Recovery National Academy of Sciences Disaster Roundtable March 21, 2012 Mark Prutsalis Sahana Software FoundationMarch  21,  2012   DISASTER  ROUNDTABLE   1  
  2. 2. Disaster Trends & Opportunities•  World’s urban population will reach 6.4 billion by 2050 (that’s 70% of the world’s projected population of 9.2 billion) - United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects, 2007 §  World’s population and economic centers are concentrated in “vulnerable cities near earthquake faults, on river deltas or along tropical coasts.” - the Economist, January 14, 2012•  Growing vulnerability to to an increased incidence of costly disasters §  By 2050 the city populations exposed to tropical cyclones or earthquakes will more than double, rising from 11% to 16% of the world’s population. - United Nations & World Bank, Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, 2010 §  By 2070, seven of the ten greatest urban concentrations of economic assets that are exposed to coastal flooding will be in the developing world (vs. none in 2005). Assets exposed to flooding will rise from 5% of the world GDP to 9%. - OECD, Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Exposure Estimates, 2007•  Global annual disaster spending will triple to $185 billion by 2100 - United Nations & World Bank, Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, 2010 §  Spending on urban infrastructure to approach $350 trillion over next 30 years. - Booz & Co., Reinventing the City to Combat Climate Change, 2010 §  2011 was costliest year ever for disasters (earthquakes in Japan & Zealand, flooding in China, Australia & Thailand, tornadoes in US). §  Five of ten costliest disasters have occurred in last five years. §  20% of aid is now spent responding to disasters; only 0.7% is spent on mitigation. §  President Obama declared record 99 disaster declarations in 2011. - the Economist, January 14, 2012March  21,  2012   DISASTER  ROUNDTABLE   2  
  3. 3. Haiti Earthquake & The “New Information Environment”New information and communication technologies, new information providers, and newinternational communities of interest emerged during the Haiti earthquake response thatwill forever change how humanitarian information is collected, shared, and managed.Humanitarian responders used social networking media, mobile phone text messaging,open source software applications, and commercial satellite imagery more than everbefore. Outside of the established international humanitarian community, volunteers andparticipatory reporters from the affected population became new sources of data andinformation. Humanitarian organizations, host governments, and the donor communitywill all need to adapt to this new information environment. US Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit, White Paper: Haiti Earthquake: Breaking New Ground in the Humanitarian Information Landscape, July 2010New partners are offering faster, more effective means of analyzing an ever-increasingvolume and velocity of data. The challenge ahead is how to create an effective interfacebetween these resources, and create an eco-system where each actor understands itsrole. It will not be easy. Volunteer and technical communities (V&TCs) likeOpenStreetMap, Sahana and CrisisMappers approach problems in ways that challenge thestatus quo. UN  Founda<on,  Disaster  Relief  2.0:  The  Future  of  Informa<on  Sharing  in  Humanitarian  Emergencies,  2011  March  21,  2012   DISASTER  ROUNDTABLE   3  
  4. 4. Best Practices: Open Standards and Information Sharing Agreements/MOUs Standards Organizations Missing Persons Community of Interest 2012 Safe  and  Well   EDXL-­‐TEC   PFIF   Travax Haiti Hospital Data (Proposed) 2010 Google EDXL-­‐ Sahana HAVE   Resource FinderMarch  21,  2012   DISASTER  ROUNDTABLE   4  
  5. 5. Leveraging New Technologies•  How do you understand in 140 characters: §  Source, credibility, verification, validation, location, prioritization, categorization, causation, responsibility•  Challenge: appropriately integrate publicly available information with trusted systems.March  21,  2012   DISASTER  ROUNDTABLE   5