By Vinod Kumar Sharma, G Srinivasa Rao and V Bhanumurthy
The authors are Scientist, Head of Division and Group Director, National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad. email@example.com
Being prepared for disasters before they strike entails ensuring that the rescue teams have the necessary equipment, know where to take people from the affected area and, most importantly, how to keep themselves safe so that the rescue operation continues. By implementing geospatial techniques, emergency preparedness and response phase operations can be customised, and ready to use scenarios can be created to provide information on how to alert, prepare and train volunteers for emergencies.
Each state in India has its disaster preparedness plan and as per the new guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) even districts have preparedness plans along the lines of state plans. Cyclone Phailin has shown that if local or central agencies are prepared for a disaster before it strikes, loss of life can be drastically minimised. As the preparedness plan has to be executed on the ground, accurate and current information about the terrain is of great importance; for this local surveys need to be conducted to collect ground data, shelter information and much more. As in the case of a flood, people in low lying areas have to be shifted to shelters/hospitals; capacity of shelters, availability of beds and number of hospitals have to be verified on the ground. An exercise utilising geo-informatic technologies (smart phones with GPS/online maps) for database creation of shelters and hospitals has...