SAMBRO Narrowing the Response Distance in the Maldives

Intricacies of Managing Island Emergencies

30KM from Male to Thulesdhoo

Placing and maintaining emergency services in each Island, in the Maldives, can be costly for the Government. It does not make economic sense for the Government to place an air ambulatory service and a fire brigade in each Island. Some Islands have an inhabitant population of, less than, a 1000 people; as we witnessed in Thuleshdoo; other Islands have a 100 people.  the near 400,000 population is dispersed in 188 Islands (approximately 30% of the population live in the Capitol Male). Islands are spread apart forming 26 Atolls (or Island clusters). Optimally staging their emergency response service is a challenged for the Government of Maldives. Is there a way we can narrow those distances to optimize the emergency response?

The answer we offered to the people of Maldives was to make use of the Sahana Alerting and Messaging Broker (SAMBRO) system. It consolidates all available resources through a shared platform for exchanging timely emergency and crisis information. Thereby, narrowing the emergency response times by offering each and every Island a fare deal.

SAMBRO brings together all Maldivian entities to form a collection of independently functioning services into a coherent National response system. For example, tourist resorts are are well equipped and trained to handle emergencies; it’s part of their mandate to ensure the safety and security of the guests. In addition to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and Maldives Red Crescent (MRC), why not make use of the emergency management capacity in the resorts that typically are in the near vicinity of the local inhabitant Islands?

The SAMBRO Bridge

SAMBRO is bridging the emergency information exchange shortcomings in the Maldives. It makes use of an internationally recognized interoperable standard: the Common Alerting Protocol, for exchanging information between disparate systems and silo-ed organizations.

Image result for kn graphThe current practice in the Maldives is for each Organization to operate their own alerting system. These are mostly SMS-based systems that have their limitations. MMS issues alerts to 100+ focal persons. Ministry of Tourism has their own SMS Blast to alert the resorts, tour operators, and tour vessels. Such disjoint systems can easily forget to inform vital organizations. Moreover, the current system requires multiple one-to-one connections, forming a complete graphs with N nodes that requires N/2 x (N + 1) connection. It’s a lucrative business for telecommunications operators to earn money from each entity opposed to a hub and spoke model that is equivalent to the cost of a single client.

Multiple disparate and disjoint systems introduce uncertainties. When people change their phone numbers the messages are not received. When organizations change their people the messages are not received. Taking these into consideration, SAMBRO was designed to integrate all Organizations through a hub and spoke architecture. Rather than each organization managing a link with the other organizations to form an Kn complete graph, SAMBRO hub and spoke architecture requires a only single connection to each organization.

The realization of the economic and humanitarian value of SAMBRO was through the CAP on a Map project, made possible through the UN-ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster, and Climate Preparedness.

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