Every year a bunch of natural disasters hit and leave us suffering. From the great loss of life and property, one can conclude that we are definitely not in a position to compete with nature and need more advanced technologies as far as rescue operations during a natural disaster are concerned!
No doubt, we are equipped with technologies and gadgets to serve our purpose. With this, immediate information on the most damaged areas, where people need help, how can we help them, etc., can be obtained without much hassle. If coordinated properly, this real-time data can be used to develop more targeted response plans. This is a technological leap from search and rescue strategies that were used decades ago. But should we trust entirely only on technologies? Definitely not! You ask why? Well, read further to know.
Firstly, let’s take a look at how different technologies can help us during a natural calamity:
1. Forecasting Systems
The advanced systems that are efficient enough to predict if the situation will get better or worse may prove out to be of great help. However, these predictions are not cent percent accurate and may lead to chaos and confusion as well. So, getting a sure shot with these systems is a scarcely possible.
In today’s era, the Internet provides a useful platform for disaster mitigation communication. We can leverage this and contact the nearest base for extending help. Launching of a well-defined website is a cost-effective solution and can connect you with the groups that are willing to help victims. It provides a new and potentially revolutionary option for rapid, automatic, and global dissemination of disaster information. But we are forgetting one important factor, that is, Internet goes down and the signals are hindered when the natural calamity hits. We cannot trust the Internet entirely. Imagine a situation, if a hurricane hits your area, what will you do? Possibly hide in your basement rather than getting help from the Internet.
3. GIS and Remote Sensing
GIS and remote sensing are incredibly useful and effective. These technologies have eventually become the object of substantial interest for all communities that are concerned with extending emergency services during a natural calamity. The major objectives of the disaster experts are to monitor the situation, simulate the complicated disaster occurrence as accurately as possible so as to come up with better prediction models, suggest appropriate contingency plans and prepare spatial databases, and other tasks. Remotely sensed data can be used for assessing severity and impact of damage caused.
Drones are efficient enough to click pictures so that extending help is possible to the affected areas and to find safe route for evacuation. But till date, they are vulnerable to battery failure and falling off. And, you definitely don’t want to imagine what will happen if a storm hits while your drone is flying around to find evacuation routes!
5. Machinery for Evacuation
Today, we have incredible machines capable of lifting even the heaviest things and helping people, but don’t they need space to reach there? We cannot let a heavy machine crush anything while clearing debris of earthquake, can we? There might be someone trapped inside! Here, as well the machinery and technology available fails us.
We can deduct that technologies we use today are not efficient in reducing loss of life and property significantly. So, what should be done? Trust the real-time help from communities for helping us out?
Is Real-Time Help Of Agencies Reliable?
Organizations and people involved in rescue operations don’t work as we expect. Moreover, the response comes from a pyramid like structure (in U.S) under any situation. Federal organizations help the responders to coordinate with various organizations so as to take control over situation temporarily. They follow an elongated process and by the time help from Government reaches, the situation is already out of control. We cannot forget the debacle of U.S Government when Hurricane Katrina hit. It is the perfect example to depict what happens when the system fails. Although several things have improved, we are still far behind.
Since the hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a number of organizations are trying to come up with methods to take action in time of need. They are developing projects. We don’t doubt them, but just because they have performed well in the tests, doesn’t mean they’ll be unstoppable in the time of need as well.
What Do We Need?
We have discussed enough that imply any existing system is not capable of handling issues without failing and that we need to work on this in order to save more lives. We cannot deny the fact that no matter how hard we try, we’ll not be able to save everyone. However, we can at least give it a shot to help maximum number of people. For this, we need to leverage all the technologies we know such as Cloud Computing, AI, knowledge of embedded systems, and create a better system. Moreover, we need to put humans on top of the pyramid rather than machines so that better decisions can be taken. We cannot just trust machines until they have surpassed us in terms of intelligence and valuing human life. Once they do, they can definitely replace us and take important decisions. But today, we need men not only to supervise but also to take adequate action considering the challenges. Only the proper coordination between these two will help us.
To conclude we can say that no doubt technologies have improved by leaps and bounds, but it still has too many loopholes which can put life and property at stake. What will be the point of deploying these, if they themselves are a threat to human life?
Thus, to rely solely on these is not wise enough! What do you think? Don’t forget to tell us in the comments section below!