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  • International Disaster Risk Reduction Day: Why being prepared is key to overcoming 21st century challenges

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International Disaster Risk Reduction Day: Why being prepared is key to overcoming 21st century challenges

Source(s):  Down To Earth (DTE)

By Giriraj Amarnath


Hi-tech planning

At the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), this message is very close to our hearts. In the Water Risks and Disasters research group that I lead, we apply the latest satellite technology to help national and state governments, non-profits and specialist agencies to plan for and reduce the risk from, disasters.


Since 2014, we have worked to develop the South Asia Drought Monitoring System. The system has three components:

  1. A weekly map of drought conditions encompassing indices for rainfall, soil moisture and drought severity, which helps authorities to forecast forthcoming drought risk;
  2. A risk and vulnerability assessment that can inform the design of well-targeted policies and programmes before droughts occur;
  3. A mitigation and response plan, which is enacted when a drought is evolving. 


Managing multiple shocks


In May, IWMI scientists spotted super cyclone Amphan evolving in the Bay of Bengal headed towards crowded coastal areas of West Bengal in India and Bangladesh.

They reacted quickly to supply satellite-based maps, which helped authorities locate and evacuate vulnerable people and identify damaged infrastructure and agriculture. By the time the cyclone struck land, millions of people evacuated in West Bengal and Bangladesh had been moved to the safety of 12,000 shelters.


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  • Publication date 13 Oct 2020

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