by Preethi Mohan | Published December 9, 2017
This article, the first in a series, describes a solution that can connect individuals, service providers, and government agencies in order to help them cope with natural disasters.
In the past few months, the world has witnessed increasing devastation caused by natural disasters, where victims are often forced to move to makeshift shelters, such as churches or auditoriums. But how can displaced residents find the nearest shelter? How can they know if space is still available? Additionally, residents often need to know which shelters are equipped to deal with certain medical conditions.
Figure 1. Disaster caused by hurricane
Interviews with two such displaced families reveal a dire need for a mobile application that could have helped them get more up-to-date information. When the water level of the lake behind their house started rising, the families started looking online for information on shelters and food services. Here are some details of their experience during the crisis:
Here’s a list of key requirements that need to be addressed in the solution:
A mobile/web application enables users to access services offered by multiple providers. For example, they can use mobile wallets provided by their telecom operator to make payments. To support this solution, critical features include:
Internet of Things plays a key role in tracking and tracing residents and the supplies
A blockchain solution enables the key players/organizations during a disaster management situation to communicate effectively and act on time. It allows the organizations to use their existing ecosystem to facilitate a service and publish on this network. All transactions are recorded on the network.
Figure 2. Illustration of disaster management solution
Government leads the initiative in bringing key players into this network:
Next steps: The next article in this series will offer user scenarios related to the solution described here.
Author: Preethi C. Mohan
Contributors/reviewers: Timothy Paydos, John Cohn, Siddharth Purohit, Amarjeet Mundi, Ramesh Srinivasan.
Figure 1: Shutterstock.com. Creator: DIIMSA Researcher.
Figure 2: Shelter, transportation truck, bus icons are from Icograms, available under the Creative Commons license (Attribution 3.0 Unported). Telecom tower icon is from First Styles, available under the Creative Commons license (Attribution 3.0 Unported). Medical supply vehicle icon is from Dave Gandy, available under the SIL Open Font License. Food icon is from Simran Singh, available under the license terms of Free for commercial use. Government building icon is from Maxim Basinski, available under the license terms of Free for commercial use. Residents icon is from Everaldo Coelho, available under LGPL. Doctor icon is from Creative Agency Bresign, available under the license terms of Free for commercial use. Auditor icon is from Aha-Soft, available under the license terms of Free for commercial use.
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