Advanced disaster warning system for flood-prone areas in India to be in...

Advanced disaster warning system for flood-prone areas in India to be in place by 2007

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Panaji, Goa, India, 13 November 2006 – An advanced disaster warning system to be developed by the Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) – National Disaster Management Support System – will be in place in a year’s time.

Under this system a database would be created about flood-prone areas and its vulnerability to other disasters banking on its past history, Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO, said on 13 November while participating in the Asia-Pacific Remote Sensing conference.

The Governor of Goa Mr. S C Jamir inaugurated the five-day conference. World-renowned institutes like ISRO, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) are participating in the conference. Experts from National Institute of Information and Communications and Technology and US-based National Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) are also attending the conference.

“We have committed ourselves to national disaster management system. It will study ups and downs and type of water flow in river bed and how much area can be affected with the floods. It will also have details of land utilization and population covered,” Nair said.

Through disaster management system, the data collected would be communicated to the concerned states, which will activate its disaster management authorities to act swiftly, he said.

According to the ISRO chief, once this system is in place, the disaster warning could be issued at least few hours before it strikes. “This technology, however, will not be able to help in case of earthquakes as earthquake prediction technology is not fully developed,” Dr Nair said.

About weather prediction, Dr Nair said there are host of censors, which needs to come into existence for this. “Gases like ozone, nitrous dioxide, carbon dioxide play major role in detecting weather. We need censors to detect movement of such gases in space and ground level. It is important that we have network of such censors at ground and also in the sea,” he added. On Tsunami prediction, Nair said that scientists have already planned an ocean pressure detector system, which will enable them to predict the disaster.

ISRO chairman rued that there is no proper agreement on sharing of various data amongst countries. “Many countries consider it as their property and during real time requirement refuse to share it,” he said adding, “system needs to be worked out to enable countries to share their data.”