Information Flow

Disseminating and communicating risk information to the concerned communities and authorities is the integral part of the CBFEWS. When flood signal is detected upstream, it needs to be disseminated instantly so that people can prepare and respond to it. Warning information must be clear and brief for people to understand it. The followings are the major components of information dissemination.

Source of early warning information

Early warning information comes from individuals or organizations that generate a risk message and send it to concerned authorities and vulnerable people. The caretaker is the main source of information within the CBFEWS. Every bit of information delivered from the source needs to be reliable, timely and consistent. The source person (caretaker) needs to formulate a clear and standardized warning message so that the intended recipients can fully understand the message and act accordingly.

Recipients of early warning

Warning recipients are nodal persons downstream who are part of the communication network and who receives the warning message from different channels (e.g., directly from the source such as a caretaker or other concerned authorities) and instantly communicate it to the household level. There will be various levels of recipients depending on the distance of the vulnerable settlement along the river and the urgency of delivering the information.

Early warning message

Warning message is the information sent from the source to the intended recipients in the form of text (e.g., SMS), verbal or sound (siren, telephone, megaphone, shout, etc.) and visual (colour, flag, sign). When flood occurs, the situation does not allow for lengthy conversations. Warning messages should hence be short, concise, understandable and consistent and tailored to the specific need of intended users. Use of code language, e.g., ‘water reached level 1’ or ‘flood level 1’ can shorten the message. But such code language must be explained to the intended message recipients beforehand. In other words, the recipient should know what ‘flood level 1’ means, how to respond to it and what precaution needs to be taken. The CBFEWS developed by ICIMOD has three warning levels that can interpreted in the following manner.

Communication Channel

Communication channel is the network of people created for information dissemination. An efficient and reliable communication network is important for CBFEWS. Communication network, particularly among upstream (caretaker) and downstream (concerned people and authorities), is of utmost importance, and it should be formed in the initial stage of implementing the system. It can be formed through stakeholders’ consultation and meetings with local government officials and influential people in the village.