The last couple of days the Sahana community hold its first international conference here at Colombo, Sri Lanka followed by a BarCamp, and the series of events was ended today with a cocktail party at Hilton, Colombo. It marked the graduation of Sahana project form LSF to an independent foundation. It was attended by distinguish individuals representing various disciplines, such as domain experts, academia, developer community, government, foreign ambassadors, industry experts, etc… Among them there was Prof Thissa Vitharana: Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Rohan Samarajeewa, Mr. Robert O’Blake: US ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, Mr. Chamindra De Silva, Mr. Ramesh Shanmuganathan, Anuradha Ratnaweera, Buddhika Siddhisena to name a few. During the event a certificate of appreciation was given to past contributors of the project appreciating the effort they have given and I was also fortunate enough to receive one of them. During the event I felt bit unhappy due to some of the things that came out and I’m curious to see what would be the setup of the project under the new foundation.
From its inception at 2005 till today, Sahana as a community based project that took the path of free and open source philosophy, proved to the world that the power and effort of community (both developer and the domain experts) can achieve to greater heights with success. It has provides us with valid proof it being the de facto disaster management system that is available in the world. According to my knowledge, from 2005 up to present several countries(including governments and other organizations) have used Sahana system for managing disaster situations, including Pakistan – earthquake, Peru – mudslide+earthquake, US:New York city – Coastal Storm management, Philiphine – mudslide, China: Sichuwan – earthquake, India:Bihar – mudslide, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka:Sarvodaya(in progress), Red Cross(in progress), DMC (in progress).
The Sahana system got this kind of wider acceptance by the world community due to its flexibility in functionality that made it to be useful for managing any sort of post disaster operations, in terms of
- tracking down missing, lost and deceased persons, etc…
- registering camps, volunteers, donor agencies, etc..
- managing the inventory, catalog, etc…
- effective messaging and coordination of activities
- GIS for a better situation awareness to name a few.
Through community effort, the functionality is getting expanded to various dimensions, such as disaster preparedness activities, bio-surveillance, etc…given