Impact of AI on Natural Calamities for Disaster Response and Recovery

Impact of AI on Natural Calamities for Disaster Response and Recovery
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

Natural calamities are an inevitable occurrence and have affected plenty of lives. As a result, AI is a viable choice to resist and provide resolution for natural calamities. 

Moreover, AI has benefited many industries throughout the years, and now it is ready to help predict and fight against natural calamities too. In the last 50 years, we have faced more than 11,000 disasters due to weather and climate change. Hence, resulting in over 2 million deaths and more than $3.6 trillion in economic losses.

Although the death toll has decreased incredibly, the communities still face aftershocks. Hence, the application of AI in handling natural calamities and managing disasters has now become the need of the hour.

Further, natural calamities bring in the danger of harboring diseases and the lack of resources and supplies. For example, the pandemic makes us realize the absence of disaster preparedness on a global scale and its repercussions.

As a result, the UN adopts newer goals to make cities more sustainable. Therefore, they emphasize building disaster-resistant or disaster-ready monuments to protect the citizens.

Jürg Luterbacher, Chief Scientist and Director of Science and Innovation at WMO states, “AI has the potential to help all countries to achieve major advances in disaster management that will leave no one behind”

Hence, in this article, we will understand the benefits of AI to aid Natural Calamities. We will also delve into a few examples and use cases to learn more about the applications of AI to protect and prepare us for natural calamities and disasters.

Understanding the Impact of AI on Natural Calamities for Enhanced Disaster Response and Recovery

Predicting Various Natural Disasters with AI

Here are some of the natural calamities and disasters that AI can predict:

  • Earthquakes: Artificial Intelligence can train to analyze seismic data through previous occurrences. It can also assess the magnitude and patterns of earthquakes. As a result, it can help predict the locations of earthquakes and aftershocks. 
  • Floods: There are various researchers and tech experts developing AI applications to study rainfall and flood records. Therefore, it also paves the way to forecast and monitor flooding by comprehending the temperature and humidity of the environment.
  • Volcanic Eruptions: Volcanos have been around since the Jurassic era. Moreover, scientists carefully study data and predict the eruption. Although, it may not always be accurate due to limitations in the observation. However, AI systems by absorbing years worth of seismic data and geological influence. Hence, AI predictions can be more accurate.
  • Hurricanes:  Hurricanes and tornadoes are natural calamities that impact life on land and in the sea. Therefore, AI now uses satellites to observe the path and intensity of these natural calamities to help mitigate their effects.

Benefits of using AI in Natural Calamities, Disaster Response, and Recovery

  • Firstly, AI and its branches like machine learning provide a faster solution for post-disaster relief. Most importantly, it is a smart solution to execute rescue responses and route planning for emergency escapes. 
  • Further, Artificial Intelligence offers a better structure by ratifying large sets of data from various sources. Hence, the data is transformed into information to serve future calamities and disasters. 
  • Moreover, AI can help automate the damage mapping technology and work towards superior resolutions for natural calamities. 
  • Above all, natural calamities impact poor communities more negatively. Moreover, they deal with issues like loss of income, infrastructural damage, decrease in natural resources, etc. As a result, AI is well-equipped in analyzing and monitoring patterns to predict the outcome or severity of natural calamities. Hence, it can help predict the calamity and offer rapid aid after a disaster. 
  • Moreover, AI-powered systems can help understand the magnitude of natural calamities to build and plan the infrastructure in disaster-prone areas.
  • It is also beneficial that data sets from satellites, geo-spatial, telecoms, etc. are viewed by experts who work with AI. Therefore, skillful professionals can help identify and adopt better strategies to improve disaster management.
  • Most importantly, educating governments and citizens should be a priority. Especially, when introducing new technologies, people must be aware of their benefits and their importance.
  • Furthermore, AI has given rise to drones, robots, and sensors to provide intelligent and accurate information about disaster-prone areas. Hence, rescue workers and first responders can comprehend the severity of a natural calamity. Therefore, drones and sensor technologies can also locate victims and help rescuers reach them quickly. 
  • Moreover, AI applications during natural calamities deal with critical and time-sensitive situations. It can also help human operators reach faster conclusions with the available data.

Examples of AI and its Use Cases during Natural Calamities and Disasters

Communication with AI During a Natural Calamity

Adam Fysh, the Coordinator of Global Risk Analysis and Reporting Section, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) believes in communication in DRR. In other words, it refers to probing the right questions about creating the risks and who encounter the ramifications.

For example, a few years ago, there was a wildfire in Athens, Greece. It also claimed more than 100 lives. 

As a result of the wildfire, the government and citizens faced two serious issues. Firstly, it was comprehending the impact of the risk involving the people and the spread of the fire.  

Secondly, was the effect of announcing an emergency evacuation strategy. Most importantly, it was critical to avoid false or panic situations that may expose more citizens to the risk. 

Here, Ioannis Andredakis​, ​a Senior Analyst on Disaster of the Directorate for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations of the European Commission explains, “With AI, the situation would have been understood rapidly and communicated efficiently, possibly reducing the number of people involved.” 

Therefore, the use of AI during natural calamities can improve and enhance the communication process. Hence, it also understands and deduces the stages of a disaster by accelerating the development of algorithms that would increase reliability and safety.

Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response (AIDR)

  • Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI): QCRI is a free online software program by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community. It aims to enhance the efficiency of agencies and volunteer services during a disaster. Above all, it uses machine learning to automate the identification process of text and tweets sent out for specific disasters.
  • 1CONCERN: It generates common and comprehensive images for emergency operations specifically for emergency operation centers. It also enables centers to allocate resources to specific rescue efforts. 
  • BlueLine Grid: Bill Braxton, David Riker, and Jack Wiess are the creators of BlueLine Grid. It is a mobile communication platform that assists rescue missions during disasters.
    Moreover, it connects users to a network of first responders, security teams, and law enforcement agencies. It also uses voice, text, location, and group services to locate public employees.

Modeling, Forecasting, and Projecting Natural Calamities with AI

AI helps scientists and researchers study and monitor natural calamities. After Typhoon Hagibis, Feyera Hirpa, a Senior Data Scientist of One Concern Inc. tested predicting models during the 2019 Chikuma River flood in Japan. Moreover, the experiment obtained data on the actual flood. Hence, validating AI capabilities for flood predictions.

Similarly, Corentin Caudron, Research Officer, Research Institute for Development (IRD) states, “forecasting the onset, size, duration and hazard of [volcanic] eruptions by integrating observation with quantitative models of magma dynamics.” As a result, the study confirms that earthquake and tremor features do influence the characteristics of volcanic eruptions and their evolution.

Detecting and Monitoring Data for Natural Calamities with AI

Once a natural calamity hits, one of the biggest challenges is to reach the survivors with resources. Especially during extreme weather conditions. 

Hence, Andrea Toreti, Senior Scientist/Scientific Officer at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Italy introduces “Climate Service”. It is a system that certainly uses AI to comprehend information and make decisions to reduce risks.

Recently, food security was jeopardized by an overabundance of locusts in West Africa. As a result, the $2.5 billion worth of crops was damaged in 2003-2005 alone. The data is alarming. According to Hadia Samil, Researcher at the MILA Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute “AI can be used to detect in ‘real time’ the attacks of locusts and predict their movements to some extent by analyzing remote sensing images.”

Hence, AI can help distribute the resources according to the requirement and intensity of a disaster.

AI aiding Natural Calamity Responses against Poverty

Natural calamities have the potential to impact and widen income inequalities. The 2011 Australian flood, for example, cost low-income individuals an average of $3100 AUD ($2141 USD) per year. However, the middle and high-income individuals gained over $3300 AUD ($2280 USD) annually for 5 years.

Hence, proving that natural disasters can render low-income individuals more vulnerable and prone to poverty. 

Moreover, the UN states that the largest loss of life in natural disasters occurs in low-income communities. Additionally, due to a low income, they tend to live in poor infrastructure and fragile housing. 

Therefore, AI can use satellite data and algorithms to analyze the damages in certain areas. As a result, there can be a fair distribution of resources. Hence, making an attempt to rebuild significant community areas for providing medical aid.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, natural calamities may not be easily averted, although AI can guarantee faster disaster relief and recovery.


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Kelsey manages Marketing and Operations at HiTechNectar since 2010. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management. A tech fanatic and an author at HiTechNectar, Kelsey covers a wide array of topics including the latest IT trends, events and more. Cloud computing, marketing, data analytics and IoT are some of the subjects that she likes to write about.

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