Early warning system training ensures long-term sustainability, expands regional and national capacity

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March 11, 2019

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC)’s early warning and disaster monitoring platform, DisasterAWARE, supports multiple ASEAN member states throughout southeast Asia, as well as the regional ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre). Recently, PDC updated the version operated and managed by the AHA Centre, known as the Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), which was initially deployed in 2012. This upgrade provided a number of technological advancements and data enhancements to improve regional early warning and decision support capabilities. In support of its operational use, system maintenance, and administration—both at a national and regional level—PDC delivered a series of training sessions at the AHA Centre in Jakarta from February 25-27.

On February 26-27, PDC delivered DMRS system administration training. The 10 training participants included representatives from the AHA Centre, Government of the Union of Myanmar (GoUM) Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) and Department of Disaster Management (DDM), and Indonesia’s national disaster management organization Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB). The GoUM staff participated as part of the USAID/OFDA-funded Myanmar project which seeks to leverage the DMRS system to support disaster management in Myanmar. During the training, participants obtained the skills required to manage existing DMRS data and add additional data layers, as well as administer DMRS users. During the final session, participants were given the opportunity to add their own data to the system, allowing them to practice their newly acquired skills while enhancing the DMRS system with new data. The training was also an opportunity for participants to share their operational DMRS experiences, and develop regional connections to enhance future response coordination.

The systems supported include AHA Centre’s Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS) and Indonesia’s InAWARE system. DMRS was deployed in 2012, and InAWARE in 2014 in partnership with BNPB. Both projects received funding support from the USAID Office of Foreign of Disaster Assistance (OFDA). In addition, as part of a new initiative to extend AHA Centre system capabilities to smaller member states, Myanmar signed on to use DMRS in early 2018—a project also funded by OFDA.

“It’s an exciting moment today to witness the AHA Centre, now a place of regional cooperation and expertise, bringing together other organizations and countries to conduct this training,” said PDC’s Deputy Executive Director Chris Chiesa. “The life-saving impact of the Centre is spreading outwards to develop the capacities of ASEAN member states, leveraging the PDC and AHA Centre partnership.”

AHA Centre was established in partnership with PDC and ASEAN more than 15 years ago to serve one of the most populous and disaster-prone regions in the world. Over the years, the AHA Centre has become an international beacon for disaster risk reduction and response. On a daily basis, professionals at the Centre face an incredible range of potential threats from extreme cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and wildfires.

“DMRS is the primary hazards and disaster monitoring tool of the AHA Centre,” said Lawrence “LA” Dimailig, AHA Centre’s Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Officer. “It allows our operational staff to access up-to-date hazard and early warning information from any location, whether at the EOC, or on their mobile devices at home or in the field. Receiving training on the upgraded version of DMRS has helped build our staff’s capacity to support disaster management activities in the region.”

PDC’s Chiesa said that during the training, participants put knowledge into practice by entering their own data into DMRS and InAWARE. For example, Myanmar stakeholders were able to enter the location of dry zones from data collected during floods in 2015 as an historical reference for planning and response when flooding threatens again.

“We have been using DMRS in Myanmar for a number of years and have seen great progress with its expanded use under our project with PDC,” said DMH Assistant Director (Seismic Division) Dr. Yin Myo Min Htwe. “Receiving system administration training has given us an opportunity to learn how we can further customize DMRS data to support the needs of Myanmar’s disaster management community.”

The Government of the Union of Myanmar was represented during the training by members of its Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) and Department of Disaster Management (DDM). Myanmar received training as part of a USAID/OFDA-funded project to leverage DMRS to support disaster management in Myanmar. Indonesia was also represented by its national disaster management organization, BNPB. The training was followed with a planning session for upcoming regional exercises with AHA Centre that will use exercise data in DMRS and InAWARE. The DMRS system is also being considered as a tool to support early warning and disaster monitoring for other ASEAN member states in months to come.

What our partners are saying about us...

Title Address Description
Kenta Hamasaki
Honolulu, HI, USATHE CONSULATE GENERAL OF JAPAN, HONOLULU, HI (2016)

"Aloha Julie. Hello. After the registration [for DisasterAWARE], I started to receive warnings such as Typhoon Meranti. That data contains necessary info and is so graphic that it's easy to know at a glance how the impact is. This is very important for our duties. Thank you again."

Paulo Bayly
FijiPERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT, FIJI (2016)

"Thank you and your team for so quickly responding to our needs."

Ana Ake
TongaMINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, KINGDOM OF TONGA (2017)

"I was first introduced to EMOPS (DisasterAWARE)...during a HA/DR training in Auckland this year. I've worked with several tools and it is obvious that EMOPS is the only sustainable tool that is available and is openly available."

Jonathan Colwell
California, USAGOESPATIAL COORDINATOR, DHS-FEMA REGION 9 (2016)

"EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) made my day so much easier while monitoring [Tropical Cyclone] AMOS. Data that I thought I'd spend a good part of the morning digging for was available, as were the tools to draw polygons and annotate and meet the requirement."

John Andoe
Texas, USAEMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (2017)

“Keep up the good work. I'm using EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) in Texas to monitor Hurricane Harvey.”

Matt Lott
Virginia, USAEMERGENCY COORDINATOR OF SAFETY, SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (2016)

"I work for the Virginia DOT as an emergency planner. I would like to be added to your distribution list for awareness products. I followed work during Hurricane Mathew and would like to avail our organization of your great products."

USDA Foreign Agriculture Service officer
Washington, DC, USAUSDA (2016)

"Your suggestion that we look at PDC content and capabilities has really paid off. We partnered with them, and are ingesting their global disaster feeds into [Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System] GADAS. The addition of a couple of our own applications to quickly delineate impacted areas and extract agricultural acreage and population has proved quite valuable."

Christopher Vaughan
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

FEMA NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION OFFICER (2015)

"My sincerest thanks to the PDC team during this event. [Tropical Cyclone Dolphin] Your professionalism and dedication to the mission is to be commended. I'm sure we will have plenty to discuss/improve upon in the weeks to follow. Thanks again for all the support. Great job team."

Daniel B. Whitley
1400 Independence Ave SW #5071, Washington, DC 20250, USAACTING ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE (2017)

"On behalf of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services, I would like to express my appreciation and full support of the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) for its essential contributions...with data and support...we've been able to improve our global agricultural production and disaster assessment analyses, products, and decision outcomes."

Jesse Rozelle
500 C St SW, Washington, DC 20024, USAPROGRAM MANAGER, NATURAL HAZARDS RISK ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, FEMA (2017)

"Aloha PDC team: I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for all of your support during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The modeling and risk assessment support you have provided to FEMA has been incredibly helpful for our response efforts and our emergency management partners. I'm looking forward to a continued partnership."

Lisa Samson on PDC products during hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
Miami, FL, USA

ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISES & COALITION AFFAIRS, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"[I] wanted to pass along that the reports that PDC is generating are succinct and extremely informative. I've passed along to other colleagues in the HQs staff and other COCOMs to peak their interest. Well done!"

William I. Clark
9301 NW 33rd St, Doral, FL 33178, USA

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DIVISION CHIEF, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2017)

"Our success during response efforts is directly related to PDC's contribution. The set of tools offered by your decision support system (DisasterAWARE), the large amount of data, the modeling and assessments, and skill set of your staff are unique. They provide my team with great situational awareness in a timely manner, enabling rapid and informed decision making in critical periods."

Brian Abbott
Doral, FL, USALIEUTENANT COLONEL, PUBLIC-PRIVATE COOPERATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR, U.S. SOUTHCOM (2016)

"As a Public-Private Cooperation (PPC) Program Coordinator, PDC's vision and leadership translates into strategies that enable others to effectively achieve results."

Gayle Outten-Moncour
The Bahamas

BAHAMAS DISASTER RECOVERY MANAGER AND FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Jeremy K. Delancy
Nassau, The Bahamas

SENIOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS (2016)

"I wanted [PDC] to know that I used DisasterAWARE during Hurricane Joaquin and it performed admirably. Some further training will be needed for us to use it to its full capabilities. One of the persons who was quite impressed is Chief Meteorological Officer, Mr. Arnold King."

Carolann Albury
E Bay St, Nassau, The Bahamas

DIRECTOR, BAHAMAS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (2017)

"…thank you all for the assistance you have rendered on so many occasions to The BNGISC but more importantly to The Bahamas."

Marcus Elten
New York, NY, USAUNITED NATIONS OCHA (2016)

"I was impressed with how quickly you guys developed situational awareness products...quite impressed with your team's work."

Claudia Mateo
Dominican RepublicPRESIDENT, REPUBLICA DOMINCANA COMISIÓN NACIONAL DE ENERGÍA

"Thank you for being aware of our situation and for the sending of images for analysis."

Paul Ugarte
GuatemalaCONRED SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF GUATEMALA

Eric Yarrell
Comayagua, Honduras

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, JTF-BRAVO (2017)

"JTF-Bravo sincerely appreciated the HADR decision-support information provided by the Pacific Disaster Center during Hurricane Irma response… has been both timely and valuable support of current operations."

Augusto Moreno O'Phelan
PeruDIRECTOR GENERAL FOR POLICY AND STRATEGY, MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, PERU (2016)

"Many thanks for your important information about the ongoing outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas."

Mr. Eliezer Serrano, Jr.
Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilLEAD DATA FUSION MANAGER, U.S. SOUTHCOM JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER (2016)

PDC's support in the SOUTHCOM region and its commitment to promote public safety were unfailing during the Rio Olympics. [DisasterAWARE] greatly enhanced our situational awareness and offered an abundance of useful data and safety monitoring information."

Don Price
Myanmar (Burma)DISASTER MANAGEMENT ADVISOR, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, MYANMAR (2017)

"The big floods in Southern China are causing some real problems for Vietnam and Myanmar and DMRS/EMOPS (DisasterAWARE) is the best visualization for this regional flood situation."

Susan Cruz
PhilippinesDIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE (2015)

"We are very appreciative of your support to our country."

Giuseppe Timperio
21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119077RESEARCH ENGINEER, ADVANCED SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT & HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (2016)

"I knew of 'InAWARE' and I am impressed by its capabilities. Information sharing in the humanitarian context is still a big challenge (especially in ASEAN), and the efforts you are putting to close this gap are highly appreciated, and indeed highly useful for the whole humanitarian community."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
Matraman, East Jakarta City, Jakarta 13120, Indonesia

HEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR INDONESIA'S NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT AGENCY, BNPB

Harlan V. Hale
Banten, IndonesiaREGIONAL ADVISOR, USAID/DCHA/OFDA/EAP

"From a disaster management perspective, these agencies [PDC, HOT, PetaBencana.id] have combined their skills, have worked well together, and have created something that is really innovative, useful, and can actually improve both the disaster response by the government and citizen's participation in it as well."

Willem Rampangilei
Jl. Anyar No.12, RT.2/RW.1, Leuwinutug, Kec. Citeureup, Bogor, Jawa Barat 16810, IndonesiaCHIEF, BNPB

"As I mentioned when we met recently at BNPB HQ Jakarta, I want to extend my appreciation to you, to your colleagues at PDC, and to USAID/OFDA for your hard work and dedication – and for your tangible results – in building capabilities and capacities for disaster risk reduction in Indonesia, especially in the area of hazard monitoring and early warning."

Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho
West Java, IndonesiaHEAD OF DATA, INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, BNPB (2017)

"Thank you very much for your support in Mt Agung eruption. Very useful to us."