As those severely affected by the earthquake have begun the long process of emotional recovery they have also taken a stride towards reconstruction. But, at this difficult time, their lives are being made even harder. Lack of access to clear information about the various financial support packages pledged by the government has left people grappling to comprehend what assistance they are entitled to.
Meeting the information needs - both in terms of content and delivery mechanism -of citizens is critical for the effective implementation of earthquake relief programs.
Data is an important tool to make decisions. Without it, we remain clueless about the needs of citizens within a country, district or village. The needs of citizens are critical for the implementation of development programs, media programming and government interventions. But, where is the data to help drive such decision making?
(Photo: Nyaya Health: Volunteer collects health data).
1) Open by Default, 2) Quality and Quantity, 3) Useable by All, 4) Engagement and Empowerment of Citizens, and 5) Collaboration for Development and Innovation. These are the five principals being proposed by the International Open Data Charter to guide the release of government data around the world.
In Gorkha district, a villager who had lost everything in the earthquake refused to accept relief funds from the government provided to cremate her loved ones. The reason – the information she received about the funds was inadequate.
When communications are down and the state is caught up in the upheaval of the disaster, how do we strengthen information flow? How can technology solve problems of communication in times of crisis and fast track information flows? These questions and more were discussed at Freedom Forum’s recent seminar with policy makers and civil society groups on how to strengthen the flow of information in disaster situations.
Non- government sector in Nepal that stood undeterred in the post disaster response initiatives despite the chaos caused by the April 25 Earthquake has now focused on rehabilitation and reconstruction works. As the daily life of people has turned towards normalcy leaving the effect of the quake as an unpleasant memory, the government of Nepal, NGOs and the international community has set off on several collaborative journeys to address the post disaster need.
We are pleased to share a new 10 minute documentary highlighting the value and importance of data in improving development outcomes. The story brings to life the vital role of data in development and shows what work still needs to be done.
As evidenced through documented experiences lack of access to information prevents informed decision making on where and how best to direct help and resources. Information such as number of households in the affected area, population size, number of lives lost, nature and extent of destruction, types of needs of the affected populace, resources available to respond etc can support response teams to effectively plan resources and coordinate necessary services.
Having good access to accurate and timely information is crucial for effective disaster response. However, in disaster situations when the environment is fragile, communications are broken and the needs are rapidly changing, how challenging is it to find, access, and use information?
To find out more about the information needs and barriers to information access and use, Open Nepal spoke with a number of people engaged in the Nepal earthquake relief operations. We share their experiences here.