Over the last 5 years, Western Balkans have been severely hit by extreme flooding events. Major floods in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015 affected hundreds of thousands of people, causing extensive damage and a high casualty toll.
We chose this region to hold the first demonstration of our disaster management tool. In this way, we wanted to show how it can facilitate the work of authorities and civil protection in the fight against floods, but also highlight how it can aid in the coordination of different countries when a disaster hits more than one nation.
— I-REACT (@IREACT_EU) December 5, 2017
Over the three days of the workshop, the participants worked together in a simulated scenario based on the May 2014 historical Sava River flood. This flood killed 79 people, affected 2.6 million people and caused 3.8 million € in damages and losses across the Sava River Basin. The workshop linked the management of these events to the different functionalities of the I-REACT system, showing how technology can play a crucial role in the fight against disasters.
— I-REACT (@IREACT_EU) December 6, 2017
In the in-field demo of I-REACT, participants could test the crowdsourcing functionalities of the mobile app. They also tested different technologies specially devised for first responders: augmented reality glasses to provide them with live information, or a wearable that allows for detailed geolocalization.
The simulation of a control room demonstrated how a great variety of data coming from different sources, and serving different purposes, could be easily visualised by authorities. These easy visualization helps authorities making decisions in the event of an emergency.
Overall, the demo was a success. It highlighted the potential of an integration tool for disaster management, while helping authorities and responders both to save time and make more informed decisions when all variables are at play. Additionally, the I-REACT team gathered important feedback from professionals. Together with the information that we obtained in Paris, this will help us fine-tune the system and facilitate the use and integration of I-REACT within different operational procedures.
We successfully finished the first test of our #disastermanagement tool. Thanks to all the more than 50 #drr professionals that joined us in our quest for a more resilient future. @UNESCOVenice and the #Sava River Commission for hosting such a great event. pic.twitter.com/QLdXZGp9vA
— I-REACT (@IREACT_EU) December 7, 2017
The next demonstration of our system will follow to continue bringing I-REACT closer to users and to ultimately improve future response to floods, and other disasters, mitigating their impact and help saving lives.
The workshop was organised thanks to the support of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in collaboration with the Sava River Basin Commission and other technical partners such as Deltares, the Royal Haskoning DHV from the Netherlands, the CIMA Research Foundation and ISMB (Instituto Superiore Mario Boella) from Italy.