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India, Japan launch pilot project to monitor natural disasters

The Hindu Business Line:  July, 2010

IITs, NGRI and India Meteorological Dept to be part of project.

Hyderabad: India and Japan have begun a pilot project to test the procedures and systems to evolve a Network for Natural Disaster Mitigation and Recovery or DISANET.

It is aimed at monitoring natural disasters and developing an emergency communication system, using the information technology tools.

Funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), a Japanese Government agency, the DISANET project would involve Indian Institute of Technology (IIT: Hyderabad, Madras and Kanpur), National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and India Meteorological Department.

The five-year project was launched here on Sunday.

‘Expand Scope'

Addressing the inaugural of the Rs 20-crore project, Mr E.S.L. Narasimhan, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, said that the scope of ‘disaster management' should not be restricted just to natural disasters but expanded to power and other damages, too.

The Japanese academic institutes would share their expertise in the area of earthquake monitoring, weather hazard sensing and emergency communications.

“It will study the scope to establish a robust sensor network for pre-disaster monitoring and deploy communications and database systems for post-disaster relief,” an IIT (Hyderabad) representative involved in the project said.

“We will develop a 3D monitoring and analysis programme for earthquakes in the Himalayan belt. The structural behaviour of buildings will be studied to assess vulnerability and post-disaster response,” he said.

The consortium would also come out with a prototype for an emergency communication system to send out timely alerts. Automatic Weather Stations would be deployed to monitor parameters such as rainfall, wind, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure.

“This data would communicated remotely to a central processing node for analysis. The focus would be on developing the ability to analyse weather data in harsh weather conditions,” the IIT (Hyderabad) official said.