Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What disaster expert Bill Nicol says about recovery in Tacloban after six months.

Today I posted this 'six months before and after' video on my blog showing the recovery in Tacloban, following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. A drone was used to do the filming and opens up so many possibilities for the future monitoring of disaster recovery.

 In response to this video comparison, Bill Nicol,  a disaster management expert gave this very accurate response on the six months recovery in Tacloban by observing the video footage from the comfort of his Canberra home in Australia.This is what Bill said.

Very interesting comparison and comparison methodology, Bob. Thanks for providing it. The material offers a visible demonstration (i.e. real transparency) allowing some immediate analysis without recourse to any form of statistical assessment. This is my own instant take. The economic infrastructure (roads = logistical arteries) have been re-established as a priority and, with it, the local economy (road traffic) is rebuilding. People have reclaimed their land holdings, so land boundaries were either not destroyed or there is sufficient community agreement on who owns what to allow people to work out who has the right to what space. Much of the debris have been cleared allowing re-habitation, so that part of recovery has gone well. Policy makers have either not imposed or not reinforced restrictions on returning to the same locations, the corollaries of which are that (1) land planning lags behind rehabilitation demonstrated by the ships that are still grounded and will be difficult/impossible to move once permanent housing is rebuilt although presently the primary shelter remains transitional, (2) the community remains vulnerable to the next storm surge and (3) developers will not be able to get their hands on the land cheaply. The surrounding agricultural land is replenishing after salt water inundation suggesting there has been plenty of rain since Yolanda to leach out the salt, so local food production should quickly return and, with it, the local economy. Aside from the road, the major recovery work has been done by the community alone or with the assistance of civil society, which should not be a problem if it frees the authorities to rebuild their own capacities and develop more coherent plans for the future. All in all, therefore, encouraging progress with some interesting twists and turns.

 It is now becoming conceivable with the use of  'drones' that disaster assessment can be done remotely thus cutting huge amounts of money spend by sending in national and foreign experts to view from the ground. An inexpensive drone could do the job much more cheaply..

Six months on from Typhoon Haiyan, The Telegraph’s Lewis Whyld, who covered its immediate aftermath with an unmanned drone, returned to see how the worst affected city is recovering. This is what he said.

“The drone has allowed us to retrace our exact steps six month later,” said Whyld. “Previously with a static camera on the ground you wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
The new images, gathered over 10 days and around 20 hours of flight time, offer a bird’s eye view of how Tacloban has changed.
Much of the debris has now been cleared from its once body-lined streets. But other parts of the city that were completely levelled remained “pretty much untouched,” Whyld said.
A lack of government housing for the displaced means many have been forced to return to the vulnerable coastal areas that bore the brunt of the typhoon.
“Aid workers who are there are saying that the main thing is housing. Food and electricity is available and people have access to health care. What is really lacking is housing,” said Whyld.
“There are signs up and everybody knows the rule that you can’t build near the sea but it is blindingly obviously that they are doing that. The first thing I saw was that everyone is rebuilding exactly where they were living previously. At the moment it is really up in the air for a lot of families.”
Perhaps I am droning on too much but what a new and fascinating disaster management tool


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