Caribbean kick-off for disaster preparedness

GUYANA, 8 Feb – MapAction has started a project to improve data preparedness for disasters in several parts of the world, beginning in the Caribbean region.

Recognising the need for immediate access to map/spatial data from the first hours of rapid-onset disasters, MapAction is using its volunteer resources and partnerships to boost data availability in vulnerable zones. In the Caribbean region, subject to multiple hazards as shown so tragically in Haiti in 2010, MapAction is teaming up with GISCorps to collate available data of highest importance in emergency response. The initiative is known as the Wide Availability for Response Project (WARP).

MapAction volunteer Vijay Datadin explained: “In Haiti last year basic mapping was essential for the rescue response for instance to locate reports of trapped victims. Yet the map data we knew existed was destroyed when the earthquake struck. We’re now aiming to put copies of key data for vulnerable countries in the region into a state of readiness, and will be working closely with national disaster management authorities.”

The WARP process has already been piloted successfully by MapAction in Nepal, in late 2010. The charity is also in discussion with its UN partners who have suggested it would be of high value in countries in Asia Pacific, and in the Zambezi basin region of southern Africa.