ICIMOD awarded Hu­man­i­tar­ian GIS Award

Bhutan Times - - Neighbour -

(Kathmandu, 21 July 2015) :The In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for In­te­grated Moun­tain De­vel­op­ment (ICIMOD) has been awarded a ‘Hu­man­i­tar­ian GIS Award’ at the 2015 In­ter­na­tional User Con­fer­ence of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Sys­tem Re­search In­sti­tute (Esri) in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia. The award was an­nounced yesterday.

Hand­ing out the Award, Esri Pres­i­dent Jack Danger­mond said ICIMOD was rec­og­nized for its con­tri­bu­tion to the dis­as­ter re­sponse ef­forts of the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal in the af­ter­math of the re­cent earth­quake in the coun­try.

“ICIMOD’s re­solve and tire­less ef­forts in the face of such dev­as­ta­tion truly in­spire us,” said Jack Danger­mond. “Their work has al­ready had huge im­pact and they con­tinue to drive re­lief and re­cov­ery ef­forts in Nepal.”

On 25 April, a 7.8mag­ni­tude earth­quake struck Nepal. This was fol­lowed by a large 7.3mag­ni­tude after­shock on 12 May. The of­fi­cial death toll is now close to 9,000, with another 23,000 in­jured, more than 785,000 homes dam­aged or de­stroyed, and about 2.8 mil­lion peo­ple dis­placed.

Given the huge de­mand for in­for­ma­tion from var­i­ous quar­ters fol­low­ing the earth­quake, ICIMOD im­me­di­ately fielded spe­cial Task Forces on Geo-haz­ards and Geo-in­for­ma­tion to process and an­a­lyse satel­lite data to in­form re­lief and re­cov­ery oper­a­tions. Over the weeks, in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nepal’s Min­istry of Home Af­fairs and with tech­ni­cal sup­port from En­vi­ron­men­tal Sys­tem Re­search In­sti­tute (Esri), ICIMOD de­vel­oped and de­ployed the ‘Nepal Earth­quake 2015: Dis­as­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery In­for­ma­tion Plat­form’. The Plat­form was for­mally in­te­grated by the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs as part of its own ‘Nepal DRR Por­tal’. The Plat­form acts as a uni­fied in­for­ma­tion hub for use by re­gional and global part­ners in­clud- ing space agen­cies, UN or­ga­ni­za­tions, donor agen­cies, aca­demic and re­search or­ga­ni­za­tions, re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tions, lo­cal NGOs, pri­vate sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions, and civil so­ci­ety.

“In a dis­as­ter sit­u­a­tion like the one Nepal faced, col­lect­ing, man­ag­ing, pro­cess­ing, and dis­sem­i­nat­ing timely and re­li­able in­for­ma­tion be­comes crit­i­cal to re­lief and re­cov­ery oper­a­tions,” said ICIMOD’s Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Dr David Molden. “There­fore, what we did was bring to­gether an in­ter­na­tional coali­tion of rel­e­vant in­sti­tu­tions to de­liver that cru­cial and crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion to the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal and oth­ers to in­form re­lief and re­cov­ery ef­forts.”

The Plat­form in­cludes snap­shots of key facts and fig­ures at na­tional, dis­trict, vil­lage de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee (VDC), mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and ward lev­els with in­ter­ac­tive maps, charts, and in­fo­graph­ics. The plat­form also fea­tures in­for­ma­tion on geo-haz­ards, in­clud­ing field data on land­slides with 3D vi­su­al­iza­tion and a near real-time in­ci­dent re­port­ing sys­tem. The Plat­form pro­vides an over­all in­for­ma­tion ar­chi­tec­ture to pop­u­late data and in­for­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent ge­o­graphic re­gions and the­matic ar­eas as they be­come avail­able.

Among oth­ers, ICIMOD iden­ti­fied over 3,000 land­slides and as­sem­bled a data­base of over 250 land­slides and other large mass move­ments; con­ducted a spe­cial geo-haz­ards as­sess­ment of the Lang­tang Val­ley; ex­am­ined the con­di­tion of Nepal’s most dan­ger­ous gla­cial lakes and pro­vided an up­date of pri­or­ity lakes; and as­sisted he­li­copter pilots fly­ing res­cue and re­lief sor­ties by pro­vid­ing cru­cial flight in­for­ma­tion to help them nav­i­gate un­fa­mil­iar ter­rain, iden­tify des­ti­na­tions, map po­ten­tial flight paths, and plan ap­pro­pri­ate land­ing sites us­ing satel­lite re­mote sens­ing and GIS data in­for­ma­tion.

“The need of the hour was the de­liv- ery of timely, cred­i­ble, and ac­tion­able data and in­for­ma­tion to sup­port re­lief and re­cov­ery oper­a­tions,” said Bas­anta Shrestha, ICIMOD’s Di­rec­tor of Strate­gic Co­op­er­a­tion, who led the dis­as­ter re­sponse and re­ceived the Award on ICIMOD’s be­half. “Our fore­most in­ter­ven­tion was to sup­port the Gov­ern­ment in co­or­di­nat­ing dis­as­ter re­sponse ef­forts so that it could ef­fi­ciently de­ploy re­sources to the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties; and the Plat­form we de­vel­oped is seen as a sin­gle-win­dow gate­way for in­for­ma­tion re­sources to sup­port re­con­struc­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts.”

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, Gov­ern­ment of Nepal, ICIMOD de­vel­oped the ‘Strate­gic Frame­work for Re­silient Liveli­hoods in Earth­quake-Af­fected Ar­eas of Nepal’, a doc­u­ment that ex­plores a range of strate­gic choices and op­tions for de­vel­op­ing re­silient liveli­hoods. The Frame­work of­fers a roadmap to re­store, re­vive, and re­vi­tal­ize liveli­hoods and the coun­try’s econ­omy.

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Dr David Molden said the Award not only rec­og­nizes the work of ICIMOD, but also that of sev­eral part­ners around the world who sup­ported ICIMOD in its re­sponse to the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal.

“We would like to thank all our part­ners who worked with us fol­low­ing the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake,” he said. “We also thank our re­gional mem­ber coun­tries, our donors, our pro­ject part­ners and the peo­ple of the com­mu­ni­ties where we have our pilots and projects, and par­tic­u­larly, the Gov­ern­ment of Nepal for the op­por­tu­nity to serve its peo­ple.”

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