IOWave16 Tsunami Exercise reveals that inaccurate population data poses hurdle

A tsunami mock drill carried out in Kerala, India, as part of the IOWave16 multinational exercise in the Indian Ocean region, has exposed a chink in Kerala’s disaster preparedness caused by inaccuracies in micro-level population data.

According to experts analysing the data generated during the mock drill, the absence of up-to-date information on the spatial distribution of population posed a hurdle in assessing the vulnerable communities along the coast identified for evacuation. As many as 3,711 persons, including 1,177 males, 1,924 women and 310 children, in four coastal districts were evacuated during the exercise. Preliminary analysis of the data from the district administration and various agencies involved in the drill has revealed that the shift in ward boundaries following the delimitation exercise every few years had led to inaccurate data on vulnerable populations, affecting disaster risk reduction and mitigation. The lack of precise information on the floating population is another cause for data insufficiency.

Read the full article by T. Nandakumar in The Hindu