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Disaster Response Lit Review Technological Transformation and"Literature Review" Chapter

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Disaster Response Lit Review

Technological Transformation and their Impact on Disaster Responses

Mobile Technology Use in Disaster Response

Information and Communication Technology in Disaster Response

The Power of Social Media in disaster response and Management

Early Warning Systems and Disaster Response

Role of Early Warning Systems in Disaster Response

David Robson (2010) defines disaster management and response to disaster as the decisions and the measures that are taken to prevent and minimize the casualties in a disaster situation by early warning and restoration of order, providing immediate relief and rehabilitation after the occurrence of the disaster.

This is often the first response that takes place after a disaster strikes. However for researchers like D.A. McEntire (2007), the response to disaster need not only be after the occurrence of the disaster but cab start before it happens by way of providing early information and warnings to the possible victims of disaster (McEntire, 2007).

The concept of disaster response entails a number of activities like warning and evacuation attempts, search and rescue efforts, provisions for immediate assistance, assessment of damage and the fast restoration of vital infrastructure (Pampel, 2008). According to J.S. Halpern (2005) the primary aim of a disaster response is to recognize the danger of a disaster and make plans, strategies and efforts to providing immediate relief to save life and property (Halpern, 2005).

In the modern day society, technological innovation has touched our lives in every aspect and disaster response efforts are no exception. S.O. Southern (2011) says that technological advancement has helped improve public safety and disaster relief efforts. Natural disasters pose threat to countries all around the world. Apart from these there is a growing threat from terrorist activities in many countries around the world (Southern 2011). Technologies such as advanced mobile devices and tablets help the authorities as well as the people to reduce public safety concerns in the wake of disasters. According to Kanno, Shimizu and Furuta (2006), technological advancement in geographic information systems, early warning systems, the internet and the social media and other forms of mass communication has the potential to deliver warning messages to a vast community of people about impending danger of a disaster (Kanno, Shimizu & Furuta, 2006)

Mobile Technology Use in Disaster Response

In their article on the use of technology in disaster response, Darrell M. West and Ellizabeth Valentini (2013) of the Centre for technology Innovation at Brookings stresses the importance of the lines of communication during and after disaster strikes (West & Valentini, 2013). Channels of communication are not only important for warning but are more crucial in relief and rescue operations. They suggested the innovation of communication technology for this purpose. Experts like Oosterom, Zlatanova and Fendel (2005) say that social and business worlds are responding to this challenge by the creation of new communication and collaboration technologies (Oosterom, Zlatanova & Fendel, 2005) that would help in speedy and efficient response to disaster.

Stating examples of the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the massive earthquake and tsunamis in Japan in 2011 and the Oklahoma tornados of 2013, Darrell M. West and Ellizabeth Valentini (2013) claim that the use of mobile and its intervention in these disasters have "skyrocketed." The need for accurate and instant information has seen a surge due to the developments in mobile technology. Citing an example in Australia, the experts in communication say that software combining of voiceover IP technology and Wi-Fi has enabled people to communicate even in places where there is no reception. "Such a feature is of critical importance in cases where traditional communications networks are knocked offline for extended periods of time during or after a major crisis" says West and Valentini (West & Valentini, 2013). In another example of development of technology in disaster Aerial 3D was created by Japanese developers which enable rescuers to create text in local spaces thus allowing mobile devices to accurately identify locations of victims. This technology was used in the tsunami in Thailand in 2011.

In their research paper, Roy, Kumar, Sarkar, Aberg and Kovordanyi (2015) explains the use of mobile technology is not only limited to rescue operations but is being used as a disaster preparedness and prevention tool. The government of Bangladesh has taken up a program of notifying mobile phone users in the flood prone areas of the country about possibility of an impending flood or a cyclone (Roy, Kumar, Sarkar, Aberg & Kovordanyi, 2015). Such messages, unlike genera; messages would flash directly on the screens of the mobile phone users and alert them about the disaster. Such messages are generally sent some time in advance so that the users and the other nearby them can prepare or evacuate to safer places in instances of natural disaster. In 2014, a large number of coastal area residents on the eastern coast of India managed to get to safety due to the early warning system in the case of cyclone Phailin. Apart from the usual PA systems, mobile phones were extensively used by the authorities to warn people ('Cyclone Phailin in India: Early warning and timely actions saved lives', 2014).

More and more people are falling back on mobile applications for information gathering about the preparation of and responding to emergency situations and disaster. This is because of the rapid growth in the use of smart phones. Cutter, Schumann and Emrich (2014) says that new applications are being created both by private companies and private citizens alike for first respondents and affected people. In their research following hurricane Katrina they say that after Katrina, a natural disaster warning system was prepared by IBM (Cutter, Schumann & Emrich 2014). The system is based on information that is gathered by MEMS accelerometers, or vibration Verizon Wireless provided wireless technology such as XORA, live casts and live video streaming application, a video propelled drone called Blue Force and FuzeBox, a video conferencing application. All these together are used by the application to create fast disaster response signals and response alerts.

Information and Communication Technology in Disaster Response

Different phases of disaster management and response often uses Information and communication technology. Great leaps in the development of information and communication technology has the potential of protecting people from the destructive forces of disasters. According to Mobaraki, Mansourian and Mohammadi (n.d.) says that there are several tools that are used in the use of ICT in disaster response. Such tools comprise of geographical information systems, remote sensing satellites, the internet, radio, TV, ham radio, mobiles, fax and e-mail. Large volumes of data are needed for the proper assessment of the potential of a disaster and the assessment of the risks involved. Such data is managed by GIS (Mobaraki, Mansourian & Mohammadi, n.d.). GIS is used for various purposes but primarily for the selection and working out of evacuation routes. GIS can also be used, in combination with GPS, in identification the location of stranded victims during or after a disaster and aid in search and rescue operations.

The role of remote sensing technology is used primarily for risk modeling of tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes and also for diseases and epidemics. This technology can also be used for the preparation of extreme oceanic, land and atmospheric phenomena. This can also be used for early warning systems for natural disaster except earthquakes. Such technology is also used to monitor and exchange of information.

Though advocating ICT use for disaster response, (Asimakopoulou and Bessis, 2010), enumerates the essential requirements for the success of the ICT disaster response. ICT needs to be provided with a good data management system and the understanding and participation of the personnel in the relief or response organization. The system also needs to identify the information needs (Asimakopoulou & Bessis, 2010). C. Mung'ou (2013) cites the advantages of using of ICT in disaster response and management claiming that the process is fast and accurate while being economic and flexible. The system also has a choice of configuration and promotes change and development (Mung'ou, 2013).

The Power of Social Media in disaster response and Management

Emergency or disaster response often entails the joint functioning of an entire community affected by a disaster. L. Potts (n.d.) argues that since a large section of people in every community uses it as a tool for communication, thus social media assumes great importance in the response to disaster (Potts, n.d.). Hence the approach to disaster response is changing rapidly from the traditional approach to a more technology based approach which is based on the understanding of how people communicate with the tools that used on a daily basis. According to G.D. Haddow and K. Haddow (2014), social media is used by billions of people all round the world to inquire about friends and family, learn about current events and share their experiences. This has almost become a habit for billions of people and therefore this form of communication assumes great importance in case of an emergency or a disaster with respect to responding (Haddow &… [END OF PREVIEW]

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