Engineering 101

Innovative app to help people cope with natural hazards

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A new application, I-REACT, will enable people all over the world to warn each other about natural hazards by sharing geolocalized photos and information on floods, fires and extreme weather events, also receiving and sending alerts of extreme weather pertinent to their location.

The launch of I-REACT, Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies, coincides with the International Day for Disaster Reduction, October 13th.

UNESCO and the European Union have joined forces to develop ITC tools that will improve emergency management systems in response to natural hazards and help prevent disasters, and foster resilience. I-REACT has been launched as a free, publically available app in ten languages (German, English, French, Italian, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, and Spanish) to keep citizens safe from floods, fires and extreme weather events.

Working alongside Member States’ civil protection departments, UNESCO is facilitating the interface between the technological, institutional and policy aspects of the project by supporting live demonstrations to bridge the gap between disaster risk reduction experts and end-users. It is also exploring new opportunities to enhance the modular solutions of the I-REACT disaster management system in vulnerable regions outside Europe. Several features are available worldwide today.

Available free of charge on Google Play, I-REACT provides people with information that is essential during emergencies, notably by sharing the location of safe areas for recovery and relief. It also helps post disaster assessments by reporting damage to assets and infrastructure.

I-REACT is a three year project (2016-2018) funded by the European Commission Horizon2020 programme. It is coordinated by the Istituto Superiore Mario Boella of Turin, and implemented by UNESCO and other partners including Geoville, Eoxplore, Terranea, Alpha Consult, Politecnico di Torino, Celi, JoinPad, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Meteosim, Bitgear, Ansur Technologies, Technical University of Vienna, Scienseed, CSI Piemonte, Aquobex, Answaretech, and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.

In 2017 alone, 9,000 lives were lost and 96 million people were affected by disasters due to floods, wildfires and earthquakes, causing €270bn in combined losses. It was the second costliest year on record in terms of damages caused by natural hazards, a clear sign that we are already experiencing the impact of climate change. The 2018 International Day for Disaster Reduction focuses on diminishing the human and economic impact of such events worldwide.

Source I-REACT

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