Sahana in Bangladesh

Following the devastating destruction of Cycone Sidr in Bangladesh, it was time for people to help out in the recovery efforts. Pradeeper and myself (Mifan), representing the Sahana team, were flown in courtesy of IBM, where we teamed up with Brent Woodworth of the IBM Crisis Response Team, Mike Donahue of the ITCrisis Team and Shahzaman Mozumder of Thakral IS in Bangladesh. Together we had many meetings and presentations to the DMB, DMIC, the consortium of NGOs and other relief orgs. It was nice to see the Disaster Management Bureau, under the leadership of Mr. Abu Sadique, act quicky on making the decision to go ahead with the deployment of Sahana: thus the following days were for the training of a specialist group to use and manage Sahana. The training group, along with members from the DMB, consisted of Afifa and Rajan, 2 MSc students of the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology under the guidance of Prof. Mehedi Ahmed Ansary and Dr. Ashutosh Sutra Dhar. We installed a branched version of Sahana on the DMB server and trained the DMB staff on its usage. To match the data gathering process of the DMB, we also developed a Damage Assessment Registry which could produce the required reports based on the reports. Members of the Sahana team also worked remotely on customization and stabilizing the branch.
A meeting with the local Bangladesh Open Source and Linux User’s Groups also proved quite useful: a team is now being built consisting of all the related volunteer groups that would build skills in deploying, training,customizing and using Sahana, which would help out in evolving the system further to Bangladesh’s need.
This deployment would certainly prove useful in the relief efforts of the upcoming weeks. Lets hope that the system would make a positive difference in the efforts, and our thoughts go with the people of Bangladesh.

Randall

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