This page provides an overview of deployments for active disaster responses, current deployments and historical uses of Sahana.
Active Disaster Responses:
Hurricane Sandy (New York City and New Jersey) - The Sahana Software Foundation is currently assisting community-based organizations with support and services around the management of mutual aid and assistance to populations affected by Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern United States – particularly in New York City and New Jersey. We have stood up a server (cloud hosted on Amazon EC2) that provides Sahana Eden capabilities customized and configured to the specific needs of disaster response operations for Hurricane Sandy.
This system has been initially designed to support the collection and aggregation of requests for material assistance and volunteers from the neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy: the Rockaways in Queens, Coney Island and Red Hook in Brooklyn, Staten Island and communities along the New Jersey coast. This will allow organizations, relief drop-off locations and individuals volunteering or donating needed relief items to more effectively prioritize and dispatch needed resources to where they are needed most. The system also provides a means of quickly conducting daily inventories to provide visibility and transparency, and allowing for more efficient and effective distribution of aid – connecting those in need with those who have.
Additional feature releases are planned to support volunteer registration and management, aggregation of individual building assessment data, and asset management.
The Sahana Software Foundation has also been assisting the City of New York in its use of Sahana software to manage its response to Hurricane Sandy. The City’s Office of Emergency Management has been relying on Sahana software for its shelter management and registration programs since 2007.
Sahana software is currently deployed and used by a growing number of customers:
City of New York (Office of Emergency Management): Since 2007, the City of New York’s Office of Emergency Management has used Sahana software for managing its all-hazards sheltering plan, which involves over 500 shelters capable of housing over 800,000 persons and staffed by over 60,000 city agency employees and volunteers.
Coastal storms, including “nor’easters”, tropical storms and hurricanes, can and do affect New York City. In fact, New York’s densely populated and highly developed coastline makes the city among the most vulnerable to hurricane-related damage. Due to regional geography, hurricanes in New York City – though infrequent – can do far more damage than hurricanes of similar strength in the southern United States. With sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, along with torrential rains, storm surge is among a hurricane’s most hazardous features. A major (category 3 or 4 storm) could push more than 30 feet of storm surge into some part of New York City.
As part of the NYC Coastal Storm Plan, a customized version of Sahana software is used to plan for and manage the evacuation facility structure necessary to house the thousands of potential evacuees in the NYC metropolitan area. From 2009-2012, a team of developers at the City University of New York’s School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) worked to customize and optimize Sahana software for the City of New York. A public release of this software developed by the City - Sahana Mayon - will be supported by the Sahana Software Foundation for use by other jurisdictions and organizations as an all-hazards planning and resource management tool.
Sahana software was used by the City to help manage the response to Hurricanes Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012.
People Locator Project (US National Library of Medicine): Since 2009, the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) has used Sahana software to support its People Locator project – for disaster preparedness and response in family reunification and hospital triage, enabling capture of photos, exchange of data across facilities for use in US-hospital-focused catastrophic situations for the Bethesda Hospitals Emergency Preparedness Partnership as well as international responses such as the Haitian earthquake of 2010, the 2011 Christchurch (New Zealand) Earthquake the 2011 Sendai (Japan) Earthquake and Tsunami.
Resource Management System (International Federation of the Red Cross): The Resource Management System was developed in Sahana Eden for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to allow their National Societies to share information on their Inventory, Assets, Staff and Volunteers. Neighboring National Societies and the IFRC can quickly see what is available in the event of a major disaster. This information is blended with data from other Geographic Information Systems (GIS), such as Population Density, Rainfall and Topography to allow for a more informed planning of the response. The solution allowed agencies to share a common server, yet retain full control over their data and who can have access to it (i.e. a multi-tenancy system). The open source nature of the software was important because it meant there was no vendor lock-in and the software was easy to maintain. For this deployment the Sahana Team deployed using Amazon Web Services in the regional data center to guarantee low latency.
Historical Use of Sahana Software:
Because it can be rapidly adapted, Sahana software has been deployed in response to disasters in: Japan and Columbia (2011); Venezuela, Mexico, Pakistan, Chile, and Haiti (2010); Indonesia and Sri Lanka (2009); China, Myanmar and India (2008); Peru and Bangladesh (2007); Indonesia (2006); the Phillipines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (2005). The effectiveness of Sahana software is highlighted by a number of these successful disaster deployments:
2012 Chilean Wildfires: The Sahana Software Foundation’s Eden software, as part of IBM’s Smarter Command Center, was used by the Chilean Red Cross (Cruz Roja) for the response to wildfires in Southern Chile. The fires, mainly affecting the communities of Florida and Quillón in the Nuble province of the Bio Bio region of Chile, left one person dead, burned down over 160 homes, displaced hundreds of families and destroyed over 45,000 hectares.
Sahana Eden was used for the following purposes:
- To generate maps of active volunteers in the sector.
- To understand the humanitarian aid necessary for the emergency operation.
- To coordinate the resources utilized to manage humanitarian supplies.
Sahana software was first deployed in Chile following the massive earthquake that devastated much of the country in February, 2010. In the the immediate aftermath of that event, IBM Chile partnered with the Chilean Red Cross to develop the Smarter Command Center, based on Sahana Eden and Lotus Live, to help with recovery efforts.
“Faced with disaster situations, like those lived by our country in the last days, the need for information becomes imperative. With this Smart Center, we can significantly reduce response times for the persons that search, and optimize volunteer work.”
-- Lorenza Donoso, President of the Chilean Red Cross
2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami: In response to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Sahana Software Foundation supported a local effort by the Hyogontech open source group in Kobe to provide a Japanese version of Sahana Eden software for use by government and responding charitable organizations (NPOs). The site registered requests for assistance and information by local government and volunteer organizations that were taking part in the response and recovery efforts. The site included information on the location of shelters, volunteer activities, soup kitchens, and organizations, and was supported by a team of volunteer developers in Japan, the Sahana Software Foundation and the Sahana Eden project. Hosting was donated by IBM Japan’s cloud hosting services.
The National Library of Medicine’s hosted Sahana Vesuvius People Locator was also set up to allow for searching or reporting missing and found persons information to the linked Google Person Finder registry that has collected information on over 600,000 persons.
2011 Joplin Missouri Tornado: In response to the devastating tornado which struck Joplin, Missouri on May 22, staff at the US National Library of Medicine imported and synchronized their People Locator system – built upon Sahana Vesuvius - with the official registry of missing persons maintained by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Their site is available at http://pl.nlm.nih.gov
2010 Haiti Earthquake: After the Haiti earthquake of 2010, Sahana was used as a registry of the nearly 700 organizations responding, tracked almost 10,000 requests for assistance and information collected by Project 4636, provided the most accurate and complete registry of the 162 operating hospitals and medical facilities along with bed availability and status, and aggregated 41 data layers from various sources onto one situation map. More than 230 registered users entered data into the system, which was accessed by over 8,600 visitors. The site was used daily by dozens of responding agencies in the first month of the disaster response.
2008 Chengdu-Sitzuan Earthquake: After the Chengdu-Sitzuan Earthquake of 2008 in China, Sahana was used by the Chengdu police to track over 40,000 families; 42 separated family members were reunited using Sahana.
2005 Kashmir Earthquake: In Pakistan in 2005 following the Kashmir earthquake, the Government used Sahana software for registering reports of missing persons and separated family members and connected them with records taken at hospitals of the survivors; at the same time, both the current Chair and the CEO of the Sahana Software Foundation were in the country advising the Prime Minister on the response, and secured donations of needed tetanus vaccine through corporate sources. Today, the US National Library of Medicine’s Lost Person Finder Project extends those capabilities using Sahana Software to tie triage and patient intake records directly with reports made of missing persons and provides publicly accessible web interfaces as well as an iPhone application.
2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: In the 2004 Asian Tsunami, the Sri Lanka Center for National Operations used Sahana to identify the location of all relief camps and the demographic breakdown of over 26,000 survivors (by age, gender, and illnesses) to help them target relief.