The world is confronted with rising trends in the frequency and severity of disasters along with their increasing impacts on lives and properties. Two major attributing factors to these trends are: increase in exposure of the elements-at-risk such as buildings and infrastructures, mainly due to rapid population growth and economic development during the last few decades; and increase in frequency and/or intensity of hydro-meteorological hazards, partly due to climate change.
In light of these trends, DRM has become an important instrument for reducing disaster risk, which requires the collecting and handling of enormous amounts of data and information, and some of these need to be collected in real time.
Advances in ICTs have made it possible to collect, analyze and manage this vast amount of data and information and use it across the key phases of the DRM cycle, namely, mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Thus, the application of ICTs in DRM has increased many folds over the past decade or so.
The module aims to introduce the basic concepts of DRM and the applications of ICTs in disaster mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. This module aims to highlight the different applications of ICTs in DRM by bringing best practices from different parts of the world and specifying the basic DRM principles for their application.
After working on this module, readers should be able to:
- Be familiar with DRM and its associated terminologies, including the linkages between the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
- Be able to identify the data necessary for DRM, such as remote sensing data, digital elevation data, thematic data and historical disaster data;
- Appreciate the ways in which ICTs can be used in disaster risk assessment, analysis and visualization, and know the basic steps for conducting risk assessment;
- Understand how risk information can be used for selecting appropriate disaster risk mitigation and prevention measures at various levels (regional, national, local), and for making decisions by considering likely future risk scenarios;
- Appreciate the ways in which ICTs can be used for community-based preparedness planning, alerting and evacuating, shelter planning, establishing an early warning system, and impact-based forecasting;
- Be aware of the freely available satellite-based resources and products for emergency mapping, mobile apps for reporting disaster incidents, and robots for search and rescue operations;
- Know the ways in which ICTs can be used to support disaster recovery, including postdisaster building damage assessment and post-disaster recovery monitoring; and
- Recognize the role of ICTs in addressing issues related to gender inequality in DRM.