New UN publication promotes tools and services for disaster preparedness

April 23, 2013

Excellent guide provides critical information for disaster managers, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, and disaster-affected populations.

In response to requests from United Nations (UN) members and humanitarian assistance partners in Asia and the Pacific, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) has recently published Disaster Response in Asia and the Pacific: A Guide to International Tools and Services.

This publication provides an excellent review of disaster management tools and services available in the region that support emergency decisions and effective disaster response. The Guide also identifies technical expertise and resources, which will facilitate partnership development. Additionally, much of the content can be incorporated into disaster management training curricula.

The need for such a resource arose during a regional partnership workshop in Shanghai, China in 2011, which was attended by Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) Deputy Executive Director Chris Chiesa and representatives from more than 100 organizations, including national disaster management organizations (NDMOs), U.N. agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and humanitarian groups.

PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform is included in the early warning section of the Guide as one of only a handful of multi-hazard systems available. DisasterAWARE is described as providing global Internet-based multi-hazard monitoring, alerting and decision support to international organizations, disaster managers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the general public. DisasterAWARE powers the PDC-hosted Emergency Operations (EMOPS) system designed for and offered at no cost to disaster management professionals. It also powers PDC’s publicly available Global Hazards Atlas and the mobile application, Disaster Alert, which can be downloaded free of charge to iOS and Android devices.

The Guide also refers to customized versions of DisasterAWARE, including the first deployment of the platform at Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC), as well as the more recently developed Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS) at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Humanitarian Assistance Coordinating Center (AHA Centre) and VinAWARE at Vietnam’s Disaster Management Center (DMC).

Like the original PDC-resident DisasterAWARE, these custom versions integrate data from numerous reliable sources—including national and international hazard monitoring and warning agencies—into a single platform.

For more about UN OCHA and ROAP:
• Visit the UN OCHA and ROAP websites. 

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