Meet ADAM — A Powerful Weapon In WFP’s Emergency Response
A newly launched alert system has the potential to dramatically speed up WFP’s response in the aftermath of an emergency.
The Automatic Disaster Analysis and Mapping system (ADAM) produces a “virtual dashboard” as soon as a disaster strikes, featuring details including the scale of the emergency, number of people affected, weather conditions and the WFP resources available in the area.
The automatically issued data is immediately available to WFP staff and other humanitarian organizations via customized email subscriptions and a public Twitter feed, @WFP_ADAM.
“Instead of hours, we’re talking about minutes in terms of being able to gather information, issue details and respond to an emergency”
“We have developed this Geographic Information System especially to help our colleagues in the Country Offices, who need to know about natural disasters in their countries in the shortest time possible,” says Project Coordinator Andrea Amparore of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch.
“Instead of hours, we’re talking about minutes in terms of being able to gather information, issue details and respond to an emergency.” The ADAM dashboard is automatically produced when a disaster registers over a certain scale — for earthquakes, this means more than 5 magnitude.
It pulls information from sources including the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, the US Geological Survey and the World Bank, as well as from WFP databases.
“In the past, all these operations were performed manually and were time-consuming for staff,” explains Andrea. “This reduced the time available for further detailed analysis and affected the speed of our response.”
“The whole system has been developed with open-source (free to use) technology, and this means that not a single dollar has been spent in software licencing”
The round-the-clock system was developed over the past six months, and has involved a real team effort. Furthermore, it comes at no additional cost to the organization.
“The whole system has been developed with open-source (free to use) technology, and this means that not a single dollar has been spent in software licencing,” explains Filippo Pongelli, GIS Coordinator at WFP. “Instead of staff having to trawl through different systems, all the information is now available through one, common, early-warning system.”
Additional information provided includes the vulnerability level of those affected, and the distance to the closest WFP base. ADAM currently covers earthquakes. The next phase will see tropical storms assessed, followed by other types of natural disasters.