New technologies in emergencies and conflicts

A look at the use of communications technology during disasters in recent years shows that while it has played a positive role, its full potential has not yet been realized. Moreover, governments, humanitarian agencies, and local communities face challenges and risks associated with modern technological innovation. These include:

– Information flows must be two-way to be effective—from the external world to the affected community, but also from those affected to the agencies seeking to help them in useful ways.

– Information will not be used unless it is trusted. The utility of any technologies will depend on the social context. People are a vital part of the communication system.

– Information will be helpful only if it is accurate. There are risks in unregulated information flows, especially when these are spread rapidly online, and these risks need to be managed. Authentication is a key challenge.

This tension between the potential benefit to humanitarian efforts from harnessing these technologies and the risks that they pose is a key theme of this report. The report examines how authorities and humanitarian and aid organizations can best balance the opportunities and challenges of exploiting different technologies at the key stages on the timeline of crisis—early warning and preparedness, immediate humanitarian relief, and reconstruction and long-term development.

– Coyle, Diane and Patrick Meier. New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks. 2009

Are you sure you want to delete this "resource"?
This item will be deleted immediately. You cannot undo this action.
File Name File Size Download
new_tech_in_emergencies_and_conflict.pdf 8 MB

Related Resources

Guidance material, Report
21 Jul 2020
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic is exacting a huge toll on individuals, families, communities, and societies across the world. Daily lives have been profoundly changed, economies have fallen into recession, and many of the traditio...
Tags: Guidance material, Report, COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Report
20 Oct 2013
With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) brought together representatives from 15 Red Cross/Red Crescent (RC/RC) natio...
Tags: Report, Flood, Urban Risk Reduction
Other type of resource, Report
09 Sep 2015
Over the past months, an ever-increasing number of people, the majority of whom are fleeing war, violence and persecution, have been risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea and take other dangerous routes in search of safety in Europe. Eur...
Tags: Other type of resource, Report