By Amin S.

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The Data to Be Captured The types of information that might usefully be included in a disaster information management system generally depend on the operating procedures the system is designed to support. However, there are several common elements. First, one should invest in the production of good baseline data. The precise names and locations of all communities, but especially communities scattered in remote areas, plus accurate maps, are basic information needs. In Pakistan, to address the confusion created in public records because different villages often have the same name and because the name of an individual village might vary across documents, Risepak contributed to the development of a collection of unique village identification codes that were being assembled at the Humanitarian Information Center for Pakistan.

To nourish the system at all times, governments might consider making information sharing a legal responsibility, even outside the context of a disaster, and donors might make information sharing during disaster response a requirement among external responders seeking financial support. These steps would provide clarity in roles and responsibilities and allow disaster information sharing to become directly regulated by operational procedures that would give the information practical value. They would also help ensure sustainability.

U S I N G D ATA A G A I N S T D I S A S T E R S : O V E R V I E W 21 The utility of the system in targeting and monitoring relief efforts must then be made evident. If actors do not experience the usefulness of the system, then efforts to enforce compliance will become less credible. The system should therefore provide regular feedback and periodic briefing notes to participants, including aggregated data and analytical reports that help participants fill their information needs in managing and reporting on their disaster initiatives, while demonstrating clearly how their contribution in information is being used for the benefit of the effectiveness of the response.

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