Inaugural conference for crisis information systems specialists

Delegates to the inaugural Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) Asia Pacific regional conference at Te Papa

Two years after the Kaikoura earthquake, emergency managers from throughout the Asia-Pacific have gathered in Wellington to address issues around disaster risk reduction.

The inaugural Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) Asia Pacific regional conference at Te Papa featured academics, researchers, government and non-government organisations and industry representatives, talking about subjects including understanding disaster risk, investing in disaster reduction measures and resilience and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response.

Conference co-chair and senior lecturer Raj Prasanna from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research based at Massey’s Wellington campus, says the event organisation also involved other University staff arranging workshops that explored issues from community participation in research design to disaster eHealth and data sharing.

“The need to evolve appropriate information systems to support crisis management has been repeatedly demonstrated in New Zealand after flooding, wildfire and earthquake events including the Darfield, Christchurch, Seddon and Kaikoura earthquakes of 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016 when existing information systems were tested and improved,” Dr Prasanna said.

The event also involved visits to three emergency coordination centres in Wellington and an optional post-conference trip to Kaikoura and Christchurch.

Dr Prasanna said the success of the event would ensure that the inaugural conference would be repeated and likely expanded as demand and interest in the adaptation of information systems in crisis response and management continued to grow.

“We had nearly 200 participants for the conference. This is the first time ISCRAM appeared in the Asia-Pacific and it is great to see that the conference provided an equal opportunity for students, researchers and practitioners to share their knowledge and experience,” he said.

“As co-chair of the conference, I’m delighted to hear very positive feedback from both the domestic and international participants. At the end of the conference, several parties from China and Australia indicated their willingness to organise the next conference in 2020.”