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Feb 28, 2023

Information is Power in Disaster Risk Reduction

Science and technology are connecting communities across the world with game-changing approaches to disaster risk reduction. The first pillar of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction states that disaster risk policies and practices should be based on a thorough understanding of risk.  A number of private sector entities and N.G.O.’s from across the world have developed software and technologies to assist the most vulnerable communities to better understand their risks. These advancements are game changers in the way we anticipate, prepare, respond, and rebuild in the event of hazard. News Five’s Paul Lopez tells us more from the Eight Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.


Paul Lopez

Paul Lopez

In a world where hazards are imminent and ever increasing, information is power. Understanding the disaster risk we face is the first step to effectively decrease those risk. Strengthening risk governance and investing in its reduction follows along with preparedness. Technology and science are now critical components in the preservation of lives and resources where disasters are concerned. Alejandro Maldonado is the founder of a software company for disaster risk reduction.


Alejando Maldonado

Alejando Maldonado, Founder, SISMIGIR

“We can begin with the priorities established in the Sendai Framework, you know that a first priority you have is that you have to know, knowledge. So here, information is a powerful tool for knowledge, for sharing information. So if the first priority you have is that you have to be aware of your risk and you have this knowledge then here you go, technology facilitates a couple of things, the gathering of information. Secondly you need verification of information and third you need to share that verified information with people. Here technology is a strong powerful ally we have.”


From mapping software that identifies at-risk or the most vulnerable communities, to information software, and communication software, all these developments have been game changers. UNDRR has created a space at the Eight Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Management in Latin America and the Caribbean for developers to display scientific and technological advances in the field.


Dana Yaari

Dana Yaari, Emergency Manager,

“At what we do is that we have a platform to manage any process, any work flow, and project and data repository, collaborate between teams and it is all digitized and super automatic to use. For example we just worked in two hurricanes in parallel, one in Florida and one in Puerto Rico. In both cases we went into the communities, the organization we worked with had tons of volunteers. They sent out the volunteers with simple forms on their phone to collect data in real time, ask questions, answer these questions, and fill out the form. The information flew to a centralized location. We are all sitting in a car on a computer and saw all the data really coming in real time. Then we were able to immediately see which neighborhoods were more affected. Where there is more vulnerable population, a higher concentration of children and respond directly from the spot and raise funds directly from the car to those specific locations. So, for us it is a game changer.”


Inclusion is an often overlooked but key component to disaster risk reduction within Latin America and the Caribbean. Based on the premise that human interaction with the ecosystem creates the risk we face, everyone must be included in the education process. This includes advocacy for people with disabilities. Today, a number of educational tools for persons with disabilities were on display. For generations, disaster management was focused primarily on responding to the disasters and rebuilding. A greater emphasis is now being placed on anticipatory actions. The Anticipation Hub, through the German Red Cross, is taking the lead in this regard.


Mathew Destrooper

Mathew Destrooper, Anticipation Lead, Red Cross Americas

“Of course Anticipation Hub is not a building. It is a group of people that are based all over the world in different kind of continents. The team and who I am working with we are helping countries and Red Cross Organizations to set up anticipation mechanisms in their own country context, basically to go and see what should be done on the science, political, and practitioner’s level to make sure that early actions can happen ahead of the crisis and not right after. This anticipation approach can strengthen the community resilience for families and communities when they need it the most.”

As we have reported, Latin America and the Caribbean are among the regions in the world with the least investment in technological and scientific solutions to disaster risk reduction. The tools presented here are among a large pool of options available to the region.


Alonso Torres

Alonso Torres, International Consultant

“It is critical the topic to be discussed here in the platform but we need to move forward and go deeper with the debate in terms of the national and sub-regional level. It is critical otherwise we won’t be see the results that we are aiming in this event.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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