I remember a friend’s story regarding an experience in Samar several years back. This friend grew up in Cagayan de Oro and had never experienced a typhoon. When she was in Samar, she suddenly found herself in the midst of a raging storm. While the people around her ran for cover and closed their doors and windows, she just stood there in the rain saying, “Wow. Ganito pala ang bagyo!”
Up until last December 17, I had always found this story amusing. Now it will only be a reminder of the destruction that Typhoon Sendong wrought on CDO.
As weather disturbances become more intense and harder to predict, the role of ICT in disaster response management becomes more significant. An example is Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan’s E-Ugnay, a system combining mobile, computer, and internet technology, to link prospective donors to beneficiaries or victims of natural disasters (hence, the name “E-Ugnay”). In this system, reports from field users on the ground are sent from mobile phones to the E-Ugnay server, which organizes and consolidates real-time information on a digital map accessible on the web. Disaster assessment reports and information, such as the location of evacuation centers, the number and type of relief goods needed in a particular vicinity, as well as photos or videos become available for viewing by prospective donors. The system facilitates timely delivery of goods and services, reduces duplication of efforts, and maximizes the use of resources.
It is hoped that E-Ugnay can also be adapted to other emergency situations and be set up and used in other areas in the country.
C M Prado, Entry # 3