'Use of disaster management tools could have minimised impact of Ockhi'

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 08, 2018

The impact of cyclone Ockhi that claimed several lives and caused widespread damage to properties in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep, could have been minimised by using non-profitable technologies as instruments for disaster management, a top expert of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said.

There is a reluctance to use technology, which is a great challenge for the mitigation of disaster management, said Muralee Thummarukudy, chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at the UNEP. Speaking at the Startup Charcha organised by Maker Village in the Kerala Technology Information Zone, Kinfra Hi-Tech Park, he said technologies that yielded greater profit become popular in the market soon. He also reminded that during the late 1990's when mobile phones became more popular, it was the fishermen from Kerala who made use of the technology in a productive manner.

The fishermen were able to get information on the price of fish at each market and they would sell their catch in the market that gave them the maximum price. A study was also conducted at the international level to find out how the technology was used by the fishermen in Kerala to increase their profit, he said.

When some young entrepreneurs pointed out that technologies developed by ISRO were available for fishing boats for Rs 2,000, he said people were not seriously considering leveraging technologies to mitigate disaster. “We are still not able to find out how many fishermen were at sea when cyclone Ockhi hit the shores of the Indian Ocean,” he said. Film producer and actor Prakash Bare and Maker Village CEO Prasad Balakrishnan Nair also spoke.

Published on January 03, 2018

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