Day 6 – 13th May – Bangkok, Thailand
Rainy again today and heavy rain has been falling too over Myanmar although we’ve not heard any reports yet of it hampering relief efforts. Visas are being issued in a slow trickle and NGOs are gradually getting mobilised relying heavily on their in-country staff. We hear though that even if they get in they are restricted to the Yangon area and not allowed in the most affected areas. Food and shelter remain the priorities but disease is now becoming a big risk.
The UN WhoWhatWhere (W3) database is used by cluster leads and NGOs to log data on their activities and assessments in a disaster – who is doing what and where. The ‘where’ is of course what we are interested in. Their W3 system is constantly in development and they have flown over their programmers from New York (Raji and Javit) to help keep it running and make adjustments. This has been very useful as we were able to work with them today to allow an export of data in a format suitable for reading direct into the GIS, with cluster sectors and townships. We have today developed a template and the mechanisms necessary to make regular mapping of the data almost automatic. First products should come out tomorrow. The W3 data and maps will facilitate gap analysis and strategic planning.
We are now officially supporting the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU). Still no HIC – Myanmar website … maybe tomorrow.
While we are here our UK Base (made up of the non-deployed members of MapAction) work hard to service our requests for data and today provided a scan of a road map of Myanmar. Just minutes after it arrived we got an email from an NGO asking for just such a thing and he was very grateful that we were able to email him back an image suitable for printing.
[This diary is from my involvement with MapAction’s assistance to UN OCHA after cyclone Nargis, May 2008]