WASHINGTON, Oct 20: An information-sharing web portal — Pakistan Relief and Information Systems for Earthquakes (RISE) — was launched this week to provide information about the 4,000 earthquake-affected villages in the largely rural areas of the NWFP and Azad Kashmir.

RISE has been developed and will be maintained by a consortium of experts drawn from American and Pakistani universities, the World Bank and the private sector with support from the government of Pakistan.

It will provide up-to-date information about the affected villages from agencies, relief workers, local officials, and anyone with access to immediate village-level data that will critically support the current coordination of relief.

“Real-time information from the villages is essential. District-level information is helpful, but details about each and every village will make sure no one is left out,” said John Wall, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

The portal offers pre-earthquake information showing village-level demographic and infrastructure data, major road networks and the distance of every village from the epicentre of the earthquake. Each of the 4,000 villages is also listed under a table of common headings, including everything from amount of aid received to agencies working in the area.

Mr Wall said RISE was truly a remarkable and spontaneous collaboration by a range of academics and development practitioners. “This portal will be the key to coordination among donors and relief agencies, and The World Bank will certainly use it extensively to plan our follow-up support to Pakistan,” he added.

The web portal is a joint effort by experts from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Harvard University and Pomona College in the US, the World Bank, Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority, Mahbubul Haq Human Development Centre, and World Online, Pakistan’s largest internet provider which is hosting the web portal.

“All the latest satellite, geographical and statistical information at the village-level for the affected areas is now consolidated in one database,” said Aamer Manzoor, Co-Founder and Vice-President of World Online. “The world-wide collaboration enabled us to work round-the-clock with the best experts in the field.”

Relief workers, donors, the government, and volunteers can provide information by directly posting information on www.risepak.com by sending text messages, faxes, e-mails, or calling any of the listed phone numbers.

Updated Oct 21, 2005 12:00am

More From This Section

Comments (0) (Closed)