An attempt to combine technology with foreign aid to help people cope with natural disasters passed its first test last month when it gave people in Belize enough time to respond to flooding caused by Hurricane Iota, an International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) official said on Thursday.
The disaster prevention plan gave San Ignacio residents three extra hours to evacuate before flood waters hit the town, ICDF Deputy Secretary-General Chen Ai-chen (陳愛貞) said.
The ICDF, affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is tasked with aiding developing partner countries.
The project was launched last year in Belize — one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies — and is expected to be completed in 2022.
It focuses on using technology to save lives by improving early warning systems, updating maps, controlling flooding and raising disaster awareness.
The system relies on stations that monitor water and weather conditions, and feed real-time data into a flood warning platform.
Presented through graphics, the information provides the Belizean Department of the Environment a clear picture of what is happening around the country, Chen said.
When Iota hit the country, the water level of nearby rivers rose above the warning level, automatically issuing a three-hour evacuation order for the residents of San Ignacio.
As a result, the town experienced limited damage, compared with other places affected by the hurricane, Chen said.
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