Senthil Kumaran, Director for Informatics Division ,M S Swaminathan Research Foundation writes in Telecentre Magazine 2008 that telecentres play a critical role in disaster mitigation. He expalins how telecentres can assist the community in with mitigating natural disasters like in 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, fisherman from South Indian sea coast had alerted the nearest village knowledge centre on the impending disaster. The timely action taken by the village knowledge centre had led to reduced loss of life and property. Given the increasing number of coastal hazards there is an urgent need for quick and responsive sea based information dissemination.
Following is the detaled description quoted from the Telecentre Magazine, 2008 for your reference:
Telecentres for disaster mitigation
The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai, India has a number of telecentres (Village Knowledge Centres) in South India rooted in the community development. In Pondicherry (now called Puducherry), members of the community can access indigenous knowledge, fishery and agricultural information, Internet and training services at no direct cost. The foundation undertakes fund-raising activities to underwrite telecentre services. For instance, the Government of Pondicherry pays for access to some services interpreted to have a high community development value. The network of telecentres are organised into Village Resource Centres and Village Knowledge Centres clubbed as a Hub and Spokes Model, and have access to Indian Space Research Organisation's video-conferencing facilities, and enabled knowledge.Telecentres are specifically designed to meet special needs of fishing, crop farming and cattle keeping communities. Users can either walk into one of the centres of choice for information or receive information via loud speakers placed in strategic meeting places in the community. Information can vary in nature - like location of best fish catch for fishing community or weather information being re-packaged in local languages and formats that will be understood by the community. This information is vital for the fishing community to overcome unforeseen change in the sea. It also provides locale specific information on sea-based weather forecast, techniques of fish processing and marketing, natural disaster warnings, alternative employment for fisherfolk, the welfare schemes of the central and state governments, etc. Moreover the VKCs also helped local fishing communities hit by post-tsunami changes in fishing grounds, fluctuating weather and sickness due to extreme climatic conditions. In Veerapattinam village, just before the tsunami hit in 2005, fishermen, seeing abnormal changes in sea-behaviour, ran to the nearest Village Knowledge Centre, warned the villagers through the Public Address System of the VKC, which ultimately led to reduced loss of life and property.
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