ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
ICTs for Emergency Communication & Disaster Response Save Lives
Disasters disrupt national economies, severely weaken poor and vulnerable communities and leave a legacy of lost or broken lives. In 2013, disasters such as the strong Philippines typhoon, earthquake in Pakistan or floods in India cost the world upwards of US$192bn. Emergency telecommunications and information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a critical role to play in the prediction, detection, mitigation and management of disasters, from monitoring environmental change to coordinating the response of humanitarian agencies. Limited connectivity, particularly in remote and rural areas, remains the major challenge to deploying emergency ICTs. How can technical, policy, regulatory and partnership options mitigate the impact of disasters? How could National Emergency Telecommunications Plans (NETPS), business continuity plans, international cooperation and international telecommunications standards, such as the Tampere Convention, impact on socio-economic costs, and in particular, on saving lives when disasters strike?
As part of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster preparedness, active and passive sensors can help in monitoring the environment and climate changes. In the period just before disasters strike, information obtained during monitoring, prediction and detection is disseminated from alerting authorities to people at risk. When disasters strike, ICTs play a critical role in providing vital information. Geographical information systems provide high resolution satellite maps for decision-making, including coordination of humanitarian agencies involved in the search and rescue operations, providing food, shelter and medication to the victims. Find out more on how ITU’s Development Bureau is working to extend the use of ICTs to save lives, mitigate the effects of natural disaster and rebuild economies at our pavilion on the showfloor at ITU Telecom World.