July 17th, 2014 -- Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to significantly improve the management of disaster risk in the Caribbean. This according to a new study published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean.
The study, Information and Communication Technologies for Disaster Risk Management in the Caribbean, co-authored by Atiba Phillips and Robert Crane Williams, describes many opportunities for the use of ICTs in improving disaster planning and prevention. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications to model the potential impacts of a hurricane and to identify areas at risk of landslides are examples of this. The study identifies the need for increased attention to be given to the sharpening of technical skills in ICT for disaster risk management, if the region is to benefit meaningfully from this opportunity.
Some thirteen disaster risk management offices in the region surveyed in the publication report an inadequacy of technical skills for optimal use of available ICTs. More importantly, the highly-specialized skills needed to implement and maintain new ICT projects are often difficult to source in the Caribbean.
Co-author of the study, Williams, noted: “It’s clear that lives and money can be saved if Caribbean countries can make more effective use of ICT systems in disaster planning and response, but much more attention needs to be given to the development of the expertise required to implement these systems and to keep them running. It is therefore important to find ways to increase the size of the ICT talent pool in the Caribbean, and to support opportunities for disaster management professionals to improve their technological skills.”
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