Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Researchers devise new disaster response system

‘DECISION SUPPORTING’:The system was developed after problems became apparent in the response to Typhoon Morakot and has been tested during more than 15 disasters

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

An integrated information system that can assist decisionmaking for natural disaster prevention and response management was introduced by National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) yesterday.

Owing to its unique geographical environment, Taiwan has often faced threats from natural disasters such as typhoons, torrential rain, mudslides and earthquakes, NARL said, adding that the “disaster response and decision supporting system” has been developed by integrating nearly 120 disaster prevention information items from more than 20 agencies.

NARL director Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NSDR) has spent about 10 years coordinating the related government agencies and developed a platform for integrating all the information gathered from the agencies.

“The main purpose of the system is to provide information to assist the government in making decisions and immediately -responding to disasters,” Chen said. “The -system has already been adapted at the central government’s emergency operation center, but we hope the system can be further adapted by local governments or even civic groups.”

NSDR deputy director Chen -Liang-chun (陳亮全) said the system was established to address the inability to integrate information from various sources that hampered disaster response during Typhoon Morakot in 2009, and has been put to use in more then 15 disaster response operations since 2010, at the central government level.

Applying cloud computing technology, all the latest data from the Central Weather Bureau, the Water Conservation Bureau and other agencies are integrated into the system and saved in its historical database, NSDR deputy executive secretary Li Wei-sen (李維森) said, adding that emergency response decisionmakers can then easily acquire information on all the conditions simply by selecting the items on a Web page.

The center is now instructing local government officials to use the system and will make customized modifications to adapt to their needs, NSDR deputy executive secretary Lin Lee-Yaw (林李耀) said, adding that hopefully the local governments would be able to input local disaster situations into the database to refine the system.

However, the system has its limits because torrential rain can only be predicted about six to eight hours beforehand, Chen Liang-chun said, adding that geological data still needs to be integrated into the system to predict mud slides in certain areas.

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