THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:On August 24, Rijin John, head of the incubation centre and president of the alumni association, Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology, posted a status on Facebook urging people about the need for a technology-based system to notify authorities and the general public in flood-prone areas within the shortest span of time. The post garnered immediate and widespread responses. In no time, Rijin began receiving calls from various engineering institutes and techies based abroad offering assistance and wanting to be a part of the crowdsourced project.
Rijin insists on the necessity for a centralised alerting system which can prevent further catastrophe. “Countries such as the UK and the USA have integrated systems that efficiently play an enormous role in preparing citizens and minimising casualties,” Rijin says. He cites two main factors that would make the objectives clearer; disaster prevention and preparedness.
Rijin stresses on the objectives the system would adhere to. “The system would estimate and forecast water levels in reservoirs based on multiple outputs, simultaneously providing information on safe outflow with respect to different shutter opening levels and river capacity. We would have a set of sensor networks that would monitor the dam. An alarm will notify people in potential flood zones within seconds in case of an untoward event,” Rijin continues.
He feels that the general public is oblivious and unprepared during such circumstances. “Rather than waiting for the occurrence of such events, one must be cautious and prepare well ahead. Now that relief and rehabilitation are done, the next solution is preparing for the worst-case scenarios by educating people, conducting mock drills, and keeping them vigilant,” Rijin says.
“We have started working on it. There are teams from various technical departments involved in making the prototype,” Rijin says. “It’s no rocket science. It’s just a matter of implementing, executing and then preparing for such disasters.”