In today’s time where disasters are becoming unpredictable, technology can act as an enabler to help ease disaster relief efforts and safeguard millions of lives. Utimaco provides a PWS solution which can help in disaster preparedness through timely relaying information to the affected areas. Deval Sheth, Managing Director of Utimaco for the Asia Pacific region share his thoughts on the role of technology and government in safeguarding India during climate-led disasters.
- How technology can play a key role in safeguarding India during climate-led disasters?
Through complex weather forecasting and modelling methods, technology has improved the data processing capacity to aid the prediction of climatic conditions and change. As a result, we now have a greater understanding of both short- and long-term climate scenarios.
It is becoming crucial that the information regarding potential calamities should be disseminated to the affected area’s residents in advance to safeguard them from oncoming danger. Timely alerts of impending danger through a warning system help the population to prepare and plan to safeguard their property and lives. For over 40 years, Utimaco has been deepening its technology efforts to protect people around the world against terrorism and organized crime.
Utimaco also provides a Public Warning System that sends alerts and warnings within seconds to every cell phone in an area affected by a catastrophic situation, without the need for mobile numbers and irrespective of the congestion in the telecom network. The solution can connect with public loudspeakers, sirens, on-screen TV messages, radio or other local warning systems. The system has several applications around the world and has proven to be successful in protecting the impacted people through prompt notification.
- How public-private collaboration can save millions of lives as climate-led disasters strike faster?
There is encouraging evidence that Public-Private collaboration is key to planning for and managing frequent and severe climate-related calamities. Making use of these alliances can help us become resilient and adapt to climate change. While the public sector possesses the necessary infrastructure and data, the private sector contributes specialised knowledge and cutting-edge technology to create solutions that guarantee the well-being of the population. Moreover, people rely on their local and national governments to protect them by promptly alerting them to any threats to their way of life.
Many governments and authorities across the world are enacting laws to make Cell Broadcast technology a requirement for their disaster management and relief efforts after experiencing numerous use cases of Public Warning Systems throughout the world. In this scenario, cooperation between the public and private sectors ensures that international best practices are ingested and that governments and authorities implement efficient solutions quickly, saving countless lives.
- How technology can help economies stay resilient during economic uncertainties?
Natural calamities causes loss to economies as it severely affects Infrastructure and capital assets, including buildings, factories, schools, roads, dams, and bridges, are destroyed. Natural resources within a nation may also be impacted; for example, droughts and hurricanes can reduce soil fertility and damage forests. Reoccurring natural disasters may cause people and communities to “adapt” in ways that cause additional economic damage.
Innovation and technological breakthroughs open up new opportunities for enhancing catastrophe resilience and risk reduction measures. A 24-hour notice of storm or heat wave might reduce the resulting damage by 30%. In developing nations, investing US $800 million in such technological systems can prevent losses of $3–16 billion annually. While technology can safeguard the livelihood of population by timely notifying about oncoming disasters, it also allows the states to safeguard their economies by mitigating risks and building resilient infrastructure.
- How AI solutions can help save lives with better disaster preparedness?
Natural catastrophes including hurricanes, famines, floods, and droughts now occur more frequently and with greater intensity due to climate change brought on by human activity. This has led to the automation of disaster preparedness and recovery procedures using AI and ML tools. Technology solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have seen a great uptake by Disaster management committees utilizing to help relief operations and reduce damage from disasters by accurately forecasting their occurrence.
AI is a particularly potent tool for comprehending how altering one aspect of a given situation will affect every aspect of the ecosystem as a whole and how this change will affect the result. The definition of the 1.5-degree climate target in the 2015 Paris agreement is based on simulations of how our world climate will change and what this will mean for the world’s population and economy. AI-based simulations also assist in predicting the effects of developing meteorological events, such as how a storm developing in the Pacific may translate into a Tsunami wave and where it may strike land, which is the first stage in the establishment of a Public Warning alert in the affected area.
- How government must actively consider the technology-based solutions to cope with natural disasters?
The road to saving millions of lives in a disaster-prone state is not easy. Technology with its vast penetration ensure last-mile reach to the majority of the population. With the overall prevalence and adoption of mobile phones and related technologies, a cell-based broadcast-based solution is the technology of choice to help mitigate natural disasters. This aims at establishing a foolproof communication system to address the existing gap in disseminating disaster warnings from the state, district, and block levels to communities.
For instance: In the case of the terrible flood last year in Germany, there were clear predictions about how the heavy rains in one region would lead to rising water levels in even small rivers during the night, but the communication between the authorities and the population was insufficient and consequently, two hundred lives were lost. This catastrophe led the German government to take action and introduce regulations for the nationwide implementation of a Public Warning System.