Society is increasingly exposed and vulnerable to natural disasters. Extreme weather events are becoming more common across Europe and the world. EU-funded researchers are developing an IT platform to support the entire disaster-management cycle.
Current systems for disaster management have remained limited in their effectiveness, even though more climate and meteorological data are available than ever before. Satellite-based and ground-based earth observation systems are numerous and powerful, while state-or-the-art unmanned systems such as drones and autonomous sea vessels now survey vast areas of the earth's surface.
The I-REACT approach enables more effective early planning of disaster risk reduction actions. It can achieve better preparedness thanks to risk assessment and early warnings, while also improving real-time emergency response.
The I-REACT platform will integrate information coming from multiple European systems and services, including: the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, the European Flood Awareness System, the European Forest Fire Information System, and European Global Navigation Satellite Systems, i.e. Galileo and EGNOS.
In the age of social media, even more resources are now available for tracking natural disasters. The EU-funded I-REACT project is using crowdsourcing and has developed a social media analysis tool that monitors Twitter to gather real-time information about an emergency disaster situation. This makes it possible for individual citizens to contribute to disaster preparedness and response, via their smartphones, augmented-reality glasses and connected wearables such as smart wristwatches.
With all these elements at their disposal, disaster-response centres will be better able to track the position of people impacted by floods, communicate with them and see the information reported by them. This will shorten response times and provide first-responders and emergency services with crucial, up-to-date, situational information that will help them take the best possible decisions.
The proposed system is aimed at user groups, including public authorities and private companies, and there is also a mobile app for citizens.