Academy Module on ICT for Disaster Risk Management

This module introduces disaster risk management (DRM) and provides an overview of how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used for DRM. A large number of examples and case studies on the applications of ICTs in DRM have been included in the module. The module aims to introduce the basic concepts of DRM and the applications of ICTs in disaster mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.



The world is confronted with rising trends in the frequency and severity of disasters along with their increasing impacts on lives and properties. Two major attributing factors to these trends are: increase in exposure of the elements-at-risk such as buildings and infrastructures, mainly due to rapid population growth and economic development during the last few decades; and increase in frequency and/or intensity of hydro-meteorological hazards, partly due to climate change.

In light of these trends, DRM has become an important instrument for reducing disaster risk, which requires the collecting and handling of enormous amounts of data and information, and some of these need to be collected in real time.

Advances in ICTs have made it possible to collect, analyze and manage this vast amount of data and information and use it across the key phases of the DRM cycle, namely, mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Thus, the application of ICTs in DRM has increased many folds over the past decade or so.

Module Objectives

The module aims to introduce the basic concepts of DRM and the applications of ICTs in disaster mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. This module aims to highlight the different applications of ICTs in DRM by bringing best practices from different parts of the world and specifying the basic DRM principles for their application.

Learning Objectives

After working on this module, readers should be able to:

  1. Be familiar with DRM and its associated terminologies, including the linkages between the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
  2. Be able to identify the data necessary for DRM, such as remote sensing data, digital elevation data, thematic data and historical disaster data;
  3. Appreciate the ways in which ICTs can be used in disaster risk assessment, analysis and visualization, and know the basic steps for conducting risk assessment;
  4. Understand how risk information can be used for selecting appropriate disaster risk mitigation and prevention measures at various levels (regional, national, local), and for making decisions by considering likely future risk scenarios;
  5. Appreciate the ways in which ICTs can be used for community-based preparedness planning, alerting and evacuating, shelter planning, establishing an early warning system, and impact-based forecasting;
  6. Be aware of the freely available satellite-based resources and products for emergency mapping, mobile apps for reporting disaster incidents, and robots for search and rescue operations;
  7. Know the ways in which ICTs can be used to support disaster recovery, including postdisaster building damage assessment and post-disaster recovery monitoring; and
  8. Recognize the role of ICTs in addressing issues related to gender inequality in DRM.

About the Author


Dr. Manzul Kumar Hazarika is currently working as the Director of Project Operations at the Geoinformatics Center of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand.

Over the past 13 years, he has extensively worked in disaster management issues in more than 20 developing countries from the Asia-Pacific as well as the Caribbean regions. His work includes multi-hazard risk assessment, early warning, emergency mapping and damage assessment, community-based disaster management, and capacity building.

He has worked closely with stakeholders at various levels including high-level government officials and donor agencies/governments and he has developed a rich network of professionals and institutions through partnerships and inter-agency liaisons.

Dr. Hazarika holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and a M. Eng. in Remote Sensing and GIS from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Prof. Cees van Westen is Full Professor of Multi-Hazard Risk Dynamics at the Earth System

Analysis Department of the faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at Twente University, the Netherlands.

From 2005 to 2015, he was Director of the United Nations University - ITC Centre on Geoinformation for Disaster Risk Management.

He has carried out research on different hazard and risk related aspects, and his current research interest lies in developing methods for the analysis of changing multi-hazard risk.

For more than 30 years, Prof. Van Westen has worked extensively with national governments, research institutions, and international organisations, including the United Nations system, for capacity building in disaster risk assessment and management.

He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Geology from the Technical University of Delft and a MSc in Physical Geography from the University of Amsterdam.

Mr. Syams Nashrrullah is a Senior Program Officer at the Geoinformatics Center of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand. Having worked at the Centre from 2008 to 2009 as a Research Associate, he resumed work in 2011 after the completion of his master’s degree.

He has been working on research activities, capacity building training and projects related to remote sensing and GIS applications for drought monitoring, landslide mapping, land use/landcover, and forestry in several Asian countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, and Thailand.

His work focuses on remote sensing application in drought monitoring, biomass estimation, and GIS and mapping including the use of LiDAR processing methods.

He holds an MSc in Applied Earth Sciences from the University of Twente and B.Eng in Geodesy and Geomatics from the Bandung Institute of Technology