Disaster risk management - there's an app for that!
As CleanBiz Asia reported last week, the bodies of evidence that southeast Asian nations are facing ever-rising risks of natural disaster are again mounting. Maplecroft's second Natural Hazards Risk Atlas and the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012 highlight the risks that Asian cities and coastal areas are facing from events such as flooding, earthquakes and tropical cyclones.
While both reports call on governments to prepare themselves and use the benefits clean and sustainable technologies to make economies and populations more resilient to disaster, progress will be slow.
So what can individuals do to prepare themselves for natural disasters. Well, to coin a phrase – “there's an app for that.”
Here CleanBiz Asia provides a list of smart-phone apps that could help you survive or prepare for emergencies of any kind. Most of these applications run on Apple’s iOS devices and Google's Android platform.
These applications have proliferated globally and generally can be broken down into three categories: those that alert and inform about hazards, those that provide advice and communication and those that have more practical uses.
Disaster Alert: One of the most popular Asia Pacific apps is Disaster Alert, a free app, from the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) a US-government funded organization. It monitors global active hazards, including earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, from multiple agencies in real time. PDC's executive director Ray ShirkhUday has been quoted as saying the information about events can be seen in the app up to 30 minutes before mainstream media can broadcast the message.
Updated automatically from the PDC's own monitoring database and can be viewed on interactive maps or lists on local times zones and allows the user to get more information on specific hazards.
QuakeWatch: While originally designed for the US, QuakeWatch, has a global capability. It is designed to track and send warnings for earthquakes based on US Geological Survey data and international feeds. It uses the smartphone's GPS to calculate the user's distance to the epicenter and any news can be passed on through Twitter and Facebook from within the app. Its popularity soared following Japan's earthquake and tsunami.
Earthquake In Asia Japan: Covering nearly all the Asian nations, this allows alerts to be visualized and graphically showing the magnitude of earthquakes along with geology.
Simple Weather Alert: This uses the reports from national weather service alerts for your coutnry. It can email or post alerts to selected friends.