Pakistan floods: innovations and guidance for the response.

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A technical team from the Telecommunication service provider AirTel Bangladesh Ltd tested the mobile towers and carried out installations to ensure network coverage in the deep sea. They have also tested the necessary frequency from the main land to deep sea to check the functioning is accurate.  At the same time, AirTel team is working to develop a Maps server in the Bay of Bengal, identifying the names of the specific spot/places in order to accurately locate the fishing vessels in the sea. A draft map has also been developed and shared with the relevant technical experts and stakeholders. The team is still working to make it more realistic and user-friendly.

CARE Bangladesh team is monitoring this development process, as well as helping the partners as required. At field level, the CARE team is meeting with the various stakeholders including district administration officials, local government bodies, the boat owners’ association and its direct beneficiaries to keep them updated on present progress.

In order to allow timely receipt and dissemination of weather related early warning messages to the fishermen through use of the Airtel server, a coordination meeting had been organised at the BMD office where respective representatives from Airtel, CARE and BMD participated. BMD has formed a small technical team (consisting of 4 members) which will be responsible for dissemination of early warning messages (both recorded file of Voice and SMS) to the server of AirTel. CARE is coordinating the process in order to ensure smooth operation of the proposed systems.

AirTel management has completed the necessary works with Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for use of the required network frequency in the deep sea. It required more time than expected to complete the all necessary setups and others relevant technical works.

Funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, this project addresses the need for sufficient lead time on warnings of rough sea events through satellite-based weather signals. The digital tracking of fishing vessels also allows for more efficient and precise rescue missions in the event of capsizing and helps to protect the lives and livelihoods of fishermen who are vulnerable to frequent and severe weather events at sea. Community capacity in early warning and DRR is being strengthened through training and adoption of this system, thereby promoting a proactive rather than reactive approach to disaster.

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