Bhutan Evaluated Sahana Eden as a replacement and enhancement for their Disaster Information System

Bhutan’s Design and Action Plan of the Multi-hazard Risk Assessment

Virtual Study Workshop

The Royal Government of Bhutan’s Department of Disaster Management (DDM) invited us to demonstrate the power of Sahana Eden. For which, we thank DDM Director General Jigme Thinlye Namgyal, DDM Senior Staff, and DHI Group for facilitating the opportunity. Mainly, three Sahana Eden tools were presented:

  1. First ResponseSAFIRE – incident management
  2. Alerting and Messaging BrokerSAMBRO – multi-hazard early warning
  3. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) portal – managing project activities, finances, and outcomes

These three tools enhance Bhutan’s disaster information needs and offers mapping and data informed decision support.

Situational Awareness

The basis of the demo was situational awareness with roots in psychology of sense making. Information pipelines and the common operating picture are central to using cues and patterns to generate mental models of an ongoing situation. We exposed the participants to situational awareness concepts through the Sahana Eden software tools that foster perception of the environmental element, comprehension of their meaning, and making projections of their future state that decide action or inaction.

Feedback

Technical lead of DDM information systems: Sonam Tshewang, responded fairly; inspired by:

  1. Sahana Eden database can store: hazards, vulnerability, exposure, resource capacity and preparedness, and incidents or situation information
  2. Incident reports from ground personnel are valuable for gaining insights on the vulnerabilities, exposure, and preparedness capacity; moreover, utilize for rapid assessment at Chiwog levels and detailed assessments at the house holds to then group them by events
  3. Subsume that it will work offline during the golden 72 hours of the crisis; with automatic synchronization when internet connectivity is resumed (essential data can also be transmitted over SMS and parsed for the database).

Simulation

We demonstrated that Sahana Eden offered a more versatile, user-friendly, and useful tool to support risk and resilience decision processes. For such, we simulated a forest fire incident response and information management from the time of first report and until it is ‘all clear’:

I see fire escalating in the forest about 10 km south from where I am near Radi behind the T.K.C.N Monastery in the Trashigang Dzongkhag. The fire is moving northeast in the direction of the Sakteng Wildlife sanctuary

  1. Witnessed and reported by a livestock herder to the DDM Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The Call Center Staff documents all details in SAFIRE as text and on a map; the details are sent to the area Forest Fire Chief to assess the situation and first responders are alerted
  2. Upon confirmation, dispatch and response activity related tasks, assigned personnel, equipment, and organizational support is updated and continue to be updated with reports from the Incident Command
  3. SAMBRO is utilized to warn the public of a 600+ square kilometer fire zone and the danger level; additionally, share the situational reports through alert updates with selected personnel and organizations
  4. Additional resources are deployed and SitReps – situational reports – are published to share with stakeholders, media, and the public
  5. The situation is contained, the final situational reports are submitted, and all activity tasks are complete to issue an “all-clear” public alert.

Confirmation

We are excited to learn that Sahana Eden can:

  • Replicate and achieve 100% of the existing DDM disaster management information system’s functionality
  • Offer additional situational awareness decision support tools and functionality to streamline the response phase of a disaster management cycle

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