4 ways to prevent natural disasters from becoming human tragedies

The catastrophic impact of climate change – especially on the developing world – is not inevitable. Here are four cutting-edge tools to anticipate and minimize the damage from natural disasters.

4. Mobile technology that informs and empowers citizens

With the spread of mobile phones throughout Africa, and with 79 percent penetration in the developing world in total, households and villages have unprecedented access to information about impending weather patterns and how to react to them.

For instance, with German support, Egypt has launched a mobile phone service “Blue Line” that disseminates information about water supply and allocation so that villagers in remote areas know where and when water can be accessed both for themselves and their crops. Similarly, with the backing of the World Bank, the Kenyan government is using SMS technology to alert local farmers to upcoming bad weather so they can begin to prepare themselves for times of hardship.

Vishnu Sridharan is a program associate with the Global Assets Project at the New America Foundation.

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