Disaster Management Information System

What is DMIS?

The Disaster Management Information System, http://www.sristi.org/dmis_cms is a civil society initiative supported by socially conscious institutions and individuals, companies and organisations. The system was launched by SRISTI, http://www.sristi.org (Society for Research & Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) on the 18th of January 2002 at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Background:

Natural disasters impart lessons at a very high cost of life and property. But if those lessons do not lead to learning and knowledge generation then it is a very heavy cost to bear. This lack of learning from the past hurts most at the recurrence of disasters. The earthquake in Gujarat (26th January 2001, an earthquake of 7.9 magnitude on Richter scale struck Gujarat, India, with its epicentre in Kutch, causing destruction of three towns and death of more than 20,000 people) and the subsequent chaos was an indicator of how crucial disaster planning is to manage relief and rehabilitation during disasters.

SRISTI participated in the relief and rehabilitation work in Kutch. But the relief work suffered immensely due to lack of information and proper planning. When we tried to get answers to important questions that were cropping up – for instance, whether there exists a database on the distribution of available resources and expertise with individuals, institutions and corporations – all we got in response was a blank. This pointed to the urgent necessity of building a system for disaster mitigation and for documenting experiences of individuals and organisations, which might act as a knowledge resource and help in better coordination in case of future disasters.

The Disaster Management Information System:

Thus, SRISTI initiated an effort to build a “Disaster Management Information System”. Through this initiative we are trying to develop a database-driven information system for Disaster Management Authorities (DMA) in various states, NGOs and other organisations. We appealed to NGOs, relief workers, DMAs and individuals to share their experiences and volunteer services and resources to the online database maintained at our website. The database currently contains more than a thousand volunteers who have offered to volunteer their services and resources in time of emergency. About 700 organisations and institutions are also listed on the site, besides other resources and web links.

The DMIS is a wholly voluntary activity run with contributions in terms of time and services by SRISTI volunteers, NGOs and above all civil society institutions across the world. All the information shared with us is accessible to all, except where the volunteer has chosen to limit accessibility only to the relevant authorities.