The News International Pakistan  
Friday October 21, 2005-- Ramazan 16, 1426 A.H.
ISSN 1563-9479

Islamabad News

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WB launches web portal on quake damages, relief operation

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) on Thursday launched an information-sharing web portal on Pakistan quake relief activities and related Information Systems for Earthquakes (RISE).

The Web-Portal has been prepared in collaboration with academics, research and policy-makers of the US and Pakistan universities, multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations and various government departments.

Speaking on the occasion of the launching of RISE, Country Director WB John Wall said, "Real-time information from the villages is essential, district-level information is helpful, but details about each and every village will make sure no one is left behind."

It was stated in a press briefing that the WBís Web Portal has been designed to provide information about the villages in every district and even at Tehsil level. It includes information about 727 villages of Muzaffarabad district and (387 Tehsil) while 494 villages of Mansehra district (258 Tehsil) in the largely rural North Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

The Web-Portal will help in coordination of the logistic relief efforts on flexible and searchable platform and will provide information on every village of the affected area, besides providing a short-term, medium-term and long-term coordination tool.

The portal will operate while using most recent portal technology to integrate demographic, geographical and satellite images searchable at village level and overlaid with distances from major roads and epicentre. It will continuously update information received via fax, phone, text massaging and through during eight hours turn around. It will provide up-to-date damage and relief information about affected villages from agencies, relief workers, local officials and anyone with access to immediate village-level data that will critically support the current coordination of relief.

The portal offers pre-earthquake information showing village-level demographic and infrastructure, data, major road networks and the distance of every village from the epicentre of the earthquake.

Each of the 4,000 villages is also listed on a table of common headings, including everything from the amount of aid received from agencies working in the area.

John Wall said RISE was truly a remarkable and spontaneous collaboration by a range of academics and development practitioners. "This portal will be the key to coordination among donors and relief agencies, and the WB will certainly use it extensively to plan our follow-up support to Pakistan," he added.

The web portal is a joint effort by experts from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LIMES), Harvard University and Pomona College in the US, the World Bank, Pakistanís National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Mahbub- ul-Haq Human Development Centre, and Pakistanís largest Internet provider - World Online, which is hosting the web portal.

"All the latest satellite, geographical and statistical information at the village-level for the affected areas is now consolidated in one database," says Aamer Manazoor, Co-Founder and Vice-President of World Online. "The world-wide collaboration enabled us to work round-the-clock with the experts in this field", the Bankís statement added.

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