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Taiwan enhances disaster management system

Taiwan: The National Science & Technology Centre for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) in Taiwan developed an integrated decision support system called ‘Safe Taiwan Information System’ (SATIS). It is based on a web-GIS framework. It aims to deal with the situations like typhoon hazards

In August 2009, Typhoon Morakot swept over almost the entire southern region of Taiwan with record breaking heavy rains rendering many parts of the area submerged in waist-deep floods, leaving many roads and private properties damaged and with over 400 fatalities recorded.

According to Chou, Hsueh-Cheng, Deputy Division Head, from the NCDR, after the typhoon hazards, the government re-considered its disaster management strategies. He said, “After typhoon Morakot, the government discovered that there is a critical need for an integrated and complete decision support system that would enable central and local government agencies respond efficiently to emergencies and incidents so as to reduce damages and losses caused by natural hazards.”

The SATIS includes two sub-systems: a response operation subsystem for staff members and a decision support subsystem for commanders. “It is designed to integrate the real-time monitoring data, the dynamic hazard models and graphical user interfaces to provide disaster management decision support tools for emergency response,” Su said.

“The input data of this system includes the basic maps, the real-time information of typhoon and rainfall issued by the Central Weather Bureau, the real-time water information from the Water Resources Agency and the hazard maps indicating areas of potential landslide, debris flow and flooding made by NCDR to estimate endangered areas under the current typhoon.”

“At present, we are in the initial stages of the project – we are doing intensive planning and testing to make sure the system is stable and sustainable,” he added.

Once SATIS is in place, central and local government authorities can integrate social and economic information into the assessment of natural hazard vulnerability. It can help decision makers and first responders know where the high-risk areas are and make the right decision on how to better respond to emergencies. “Real-time data and GIS go hand in hand,” Su stated.

“Having the right information at the right time is crucial for authorities and first responders as it enables them to know exactly what they are dealing with. Added with GIS, they are able to focus on critical areas and efficiently allocate resources needed.”

In 2005, the World Bank published the report: ‘Natural Disaster Hotspots- A Global Risk Analysis’ which indicated Taiwan, as one of the most vulnerable to natural hazards, with 73 per cent of its population exposed to hazards such as typhoons, flooding, landslides, debris flows and earthquakes, thus resulting to significant damages in property and loss of lives.

Source: FutureGov