About the Project

In the event of a natural disaster, the National Bureau for Risk and Disaster Management (known by the French acronym BNGRC) is the entity responsible for coordinating programs and activities linked to emergency response and assistance. Additionally, the bureau is also responsible for preparedness and prevention to reduce the impact of disasters.a

The Challenge

For several years, post-disaster data have been collected through either

  • landline phone
  • radio communication
  • hard copy paper reports (mainly for communities close to the BNGRC central office)

There are significant delays associated with collecting disaster data via these paper reports; in times when people need direct, immediate assistance, these lapses can be catastrophic. Moreover, the processing of information requires 30 minutes or longer for each report received.

Such information processing is time consuming, and the cost of telephone calls increased in parallel with the extent of the damages.

“Every year, an average of 500 villages are affected by cyclones, Madagascar’s most prominent natural disaster. The processing of information is time consuming, involves a lot of personnel, and delays the decision-making and the sending of response teams; however, in the meantime, the extent of the damages is increasing. It is even possible that there will be deaths before the emergency response team arrives,” says Nianja Raonivelo, BNGRC Webmaster/Data Analyst.

Action Taken

In collaboration with the members of other disaster preparedness projects, BNGRC decided to modernize its post-disaster data collection infrastructure with an HNI-developed mobile phone data reporting platform. The goal is to provide alternatives to disaster-affected communities for reporting post-flood and cyclone information and to reduce the processing time of information that reaches BNGRC’s headquarters. The BNGRC equipped 1,700 reporters in at-risk communities.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) invested in an additional 300 mobile phones for the project. International partners such as CARE, CRS, ADRA and UNDP mobilized their field staff working in areas prone to cyclones and flooding, participated in the training of the reporters and lent various other types of support to this undertaking.

The Result

BNGRC’s mobile phone reporting system for disaster relief, prevention and management is currently operational. The system is considered affordable, reliable and robust enough to meet the organization’s needs in times of crisis.

N. Raonivelo

Now, communicating, processing and compiling the data is done quickly. We map our data, send messages to raise pre-disaster awareness and increase preparedness, access our collected data in real time and share it with other stakeholders ».

Nianja Raonivelo BNGRC Webmaster/ Data Analyst