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What Are the Best ICTs to Use in Disaster Management?

By Jana Melpolder on July 23, 2014


Thank you to everyone who listened in and participated in last week’s Twitter Chat! ICTworks is especially grateful to our main speakers, Glen Burnett, Lauren Bateman, and Olly Parsons,  We were able to capture dynamic conversations from all over the world – including the Philippines, Iceland, and the UK. Our exciting #ICTchat conversation drew in almost 500 responses from 80 contributors – and our impact reached over 1.4 million.

What were the lessons learned from our discussion? Check out a few of the top highlights:

Q1: What are effective ICTs that can be used as early warning systems?

  • ICTS help us move from only relief and recovery to risk and vulnerability management before a disaster.
  • Early warning systems should be built on existing tech and communication practices: text, twitter, radio, email alerts, etc.
  • @info_innovation: The best #ICT enables affected populations to communicate to lead their own recovery (youtu.be/Q6bB0y8DdYY).

Q2: What can be learned from past disaster management projects?

  • Systems (tech or otherwise) are most useful when users/communicators are already using it pre-disaster.
  • A high level of cooperation between agencies of national governments and aid groups can enable ICTs to be used more effectively.
  • @BruceICT4D gave this example from a past disaster relief effort in India: An SMS warning about the impending 2004 tsunami – was said to have saved the village’s entire population of 3,600 in India.
  • Emergency provisions for freeing spectrum and wireless backhaul are nbso online casino reviews game changers.


Q3: What ICT strategies should be used for long-term success in disaster recovery?

  • Mitigation – Preparedness – Response – Recovery – are areas that ICT are being used and progressive strategies are need for each.
  • @JenniferChan7 proposed a community driven approach to EWS design. Example: bit.ly/DEWS_2012
  • @GiboMina advocated for social media as one of the best platforms for disaster preparedness to recovery but @originalglen responded with a caveat: This again depends on who your target is → The extreme poor are still not on social media and they are worst hit.


Q4: Should relief groups use drones after a disaster occurs or are they too much of an invasion of privacy?

  • They might harm or scare people. The benefits might not outweigh the risks. More evidence is needed.
  • Local sensing allows repeat scans in real time.
  • Research into drones is interesting, but privacy and regulation must be part of development. They shouldn’t be used spur of moment but planned.
  • Drones can be deployed in places that is particularly hard for relief agencies to access.


It was great to see such a wide range of insightful responses, and thank you again for being a part of the successful chat. Be sure to stay tuned for more interactive Twitter discussions we plan to host in the near future!

Our Twitter Chat research was conducted by Danielle Schulkin and Corbin Halliwill, two members of Inveneo’s outstanding team of interns.

Filed Under: Connectivity, Education, ICT Installer, Marketing, Relief, Solutions
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Written by
Jana Melpolder worked for over two years as an editor for ICTworks. She is passionate about bringing human rights issues to the forefront through ICT in the developing world, and she has reported on development programs from several countries including Bolivia, Ghana, Thailand and India. Follow her on Twitter: @JanaMelpolder
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