The Government of Rwanda has teased that they are working on scaling up artificial intelligence aimed to strengthen disaster prevention, preparedness and efficient response.
The country is very prone to natural disasters such as floods, landslides, hailstorms, lightning, droughts and strong winds among others which have over the years claimed lives and property. In 2020 alone, about 6,000 hectares of crops and 458 hectares of forests were damaged by disasters while 290 people lost their lives as 398 were injured according to statistics from the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Under the support of UNESCO and Japanese experts, an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that runs on ‘Line’ has reportedly been developed to enable immediate reactions, before, during and after disasters happen in the country and its neighbours. Line is a freeware app for instant communications on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, and personal computers. LINE users exchange texts, images, video and audio, and conduct free VoIP conversations and video conferences.
“The system we have been using to report disasters was taking so long because officials from cell level used to send disaster information reports to sector level, then from there to district and national level to reach all institutions in charge of disaster management,”said Deus Twagiramungu, a Geological and Technological Hazard Surveillance at the Ministry in Charge of Emergency.
The new technology will automatically share information for mitigation, readiness and response to disasters, contrary to the existing system. He further explained that the Ai automatically compiles all disaster information from all corners of the country in one platform and be accessible to all users for quick response.
It is also reported that at least 10 master trainers are also training all District Disaster Management Officers as a way of scaling up the technology that will ensure accurate and reliable spatial data in real or near real-time.
The developers say the technology will help to know the location and description of disasters with photos as well as to track and analyse threats to quickly identify the possible dangers and hazards.
Gretta Muhimpundu, a hydro meteorologist, said that the technology has different components namely reporting disasters, disaster maps which help in warning to prevent disaster effects, weather information and checking reports on disasters in different areas adding that an ordinary citizen can also report any disaster through the application.
Source: The New Times