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June 24, 2018

Ground information is vital to effective disaster response

Aye Min Soe

Nationwide flooding, which began in mid-July and has so far killed six people, has also affected more than 420,000 people in 98,000 households, according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Bago, Ayeyawady and Yangon regions are still experiencing flooding, while some regions, including Kachin State and Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway regions shut down shelters as floodwaters receded.
The government, philanthropic organisations and the Tatmadaw  have made strenuous efforts since the disaster hit the country, providing relief  aid to the areas and carrying out evacuation there.
During the post-flooding periods, disasters such as diseases and famine can happen in the flood-hit areas. It can make the victims lack the spirit to face the challenges of responding to disasters.
The situation in the areas surely need support from outside for their rehabilitation. Ground information in the disaster areas are sine qua non for quickly response to the disasters and rehabilitation of the people affected by the disasters.
Therefore, it is required to send ground information such as which diseases outbreak in which areas and which areas are suffering famine.
Besides, the information from the flood-hit areas are surely very helpful for the government so that it can make short-term and long-term plans for rehabilitation of the victims in a short time.
Geographic data and tools are essential in all aspects of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. During emergencies time is of the essence and the risks associated with volunteered information are often outweighed by the benefits of its use.
Now and going into the future we should all focus on gaining on-the-ground information in order to plan against disaster but also effectively combat its results when it does inevitably strike.


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