HomeIAMURE International Journal of Ecology and Conservationvol. 2 no. 1 (2012)

Harnessing Information and Technology for Disaster Response Decision-Making Units

Manisha Shekhar | M. C. Saxena



After each major disaster of the modern era, humanitarian organizations have reaffirmed a critical lesson: good communication is essential to effective coordination. Field workers now rely on tools like portable satellite antennae that enable them to have Internet communications from many places on the globe. Rather, the problem is now shifting from basic connectivity to information management. Without information sharing there can be no coordination. If we are not talking to each other and sharing information then we go back 30 years. In this paper, we adopt a theory-driven approach to develop a set of information management roles and dynamic capabilities for disaster management. Although the networks that connect humanitarians have expanded quickly in recent years, the volume of data flowing through these pathways, and the number of information sources, have increased at an even faster rate. Responders are increasingly struggling to handle a growing amount of data, arriving more quickly than ever before. This is a problem from the non-emergency world that is amplified at times of crisis. Due to poorly adapted tools, training and strategies, responders are increasingly ill-prepared to produce useful knowledge from the flow of information and data.