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10 Jun 2015 | News

Mobile application for reporting disaster events

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ICIMOD and Kathmandu University, Nepal, launched ‘Disaster Reporting’, an android application that enables users to report disaster events along with essential information, such as impact and immediate relief requirements. The application allows the user to select the type of disaster event (e.g., building damage, fire, landslide or public utility damage) and provides an option to include information on the extent of damage, number of people injured, people who perished and were displaced, along with current need in the field. Details of any incidents reported can be visualized on an interactive web map at the address: http://118.91.160.230/nepeq/. The application also offers the option to customize the features according to the need of the user organizations. The application is available on Google play for free download. Currently, the group is working on customizing the application to record culturally significant buildings in Kathmandu for the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Other features include information on the nearest hospitals, police, and camp areas from the disaster zone and will in the future include ‘geofence’, a method for defining virtual geographical boundaries that sends alerts and notifications about disaster events to users.  Shashish Maharjan, the main coordinator of the application development said, “The app can be used by government and nongovernmental organizations for field data collection for long-term planning for rebuilding and reconstruction, disaster assessment, relief distribution and overall disaster management”.

The application was developed by the Geospatial Lab, Department of Civil and Geomatics Engineering, Kathmandu University under the Small Scale Application Grant of the SERVIR-Himalaya programme of ICIMOD. SERVIR-Himalaya’s Small Scale Application Grant enables people and institutions to take complete advantage of SERVIR resources in the region. It is aimed to bring in innovation and improve the dissemination of SERVIR’s data and tools.

Rajan Bajracharya, Associate System Specialist at ICIMOD said, “The primary objective of the system is to provide operational software tools to respond during disaster, emergency and non-emergency situations”. He added that, “With the way it has been received by users so far, I think we have been successful in achieving our objective”.

During the recent earthquake disaster in Nepal, Kathmandu University used the application to report and record the impact of the earthquake in the affected areas in Kuttal, Naya Gaun of Kavrepalanchok district. Similarly, it was used by a local disaster management committee of Kirtipur Municipality Ward-9 and a non-government organization, Sano-Paila, also used the application in Ward 14 of Bhaktapur Municipality.

SERVIR is a joint development initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), working in partnership with leading regional organizations around the globe. SERVIR helps those most in need of tools for managing climate risks and land use. SERVIR’s activities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region are implemented by ICIMOD under the flagship of SERVIR-Himalaya.

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