Natural disasters come in many shapes. From incomprehensible to the last weekend tsunami in the Indian Ocean, to hurricanes and typhoids, to tornadoes and drough, our world addresses the horror of disaster as a normal part of our lives. Throw a little human influence through war, terror, or threat of weapons destruction and our need to deal with and overcoming disaster will be a routine.
Watch CNN and news stations give a more real-world view of real-world disasters. While some may find this little macabre, it also shows our ability to respond quickly to major events globally. The same technology that allows us to view the follow-up tsunami also allows us to quickly gather facts data on the scale of disaster and use it to plan and respond to disaster.
Organizations like the Pacific Ocean Center and the Pacific Ocean Network try to assist regional states in building better plans for disaster plans and response levels through training and temporary dissemination of critical information. Regional disaster organizations participate in joint disaster planning programs (other than period disasters) to plan their resources to respond to regional disasters and can answer significant issues within an hour.
While the magic of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean is not controlled within a day or a few days, communication and real-time information retrieval will certainly reduce the misery experienced by victims at the same level, which could not have been possible 40 years ago. As airplanes and individuals on the spot (with satellite phones or other powerful mobile devices) gather information about the areas of Sumatra, Thailand and other areas of interest, the information is almost immediately recorded, assessed, distributed and prioritized among the number of emergency response centers operated by local governments – as well as international relief agencies.
Coordination at regional and international level occurs more preferably among members of organizations such as the multilateral organizational group. MPAT holds frequent pilot projects among Member States to ensure coordination lines and pre-planned answers are quickly implemented. All MPAT member states have access to central databases about planning information, available resources and "control center" that are active when a regional disaster occurs.
Telecommunications and information technology are key to our ability to respond to disasters. As real-time information is collected, it is available immediately to all participants in the relief program. Other technologies – especially military technology, can easily serve duel for use in disaster. The same military forces designed to carry soldiers in war can carry refugees from disaster. The same image poll used to spy on enemies can provide a clear view of the extent of the damage. The same technology used to collect electronic intelligence can find attempts to use mobile phones, radio waves, and even the sounds of people who stranded in remote areas. Infrared scanning used to identify enemy soldiers in a bunker or building can as easily find a family stranded in a jungle.
If you compare the current response to the tsunami in the Indian Ocean with the effect of tsunami disease following the volcanic eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in 1883, you can see how much damage from this disaster was not even known for several decades.
In most cases, disaster can not be predicted. We are making progress that predicts earthquakes, hurricanes and soda – although science is not nearly a successful disaster forecast, but we fully understand humanity. With the effective use of communication, information technology and duel using military / civilian technology, we are getting much closer to reducing pain after events.
2005 will be a major year in exploiting the potential of internet and telecommunications technology. In the face of positive action for regional cooperation in activities such as MPAT, we should have encouraged our governments to understand the need and role of technology in planning – well-being – in the regional disaster.