In the aftermath of a disaster, there is an urgent need to ensure that relief-aid reaches all affected areas in a timely and equitable manner. This is particularly hard to do in cases like the Pakistani earthquake, where the affected population is very large, and there are a large number of relief-agencies, big and small, acting in a largely uncoordinated fashion.
The main goals of RISEPAK is to ensure that no affected village is left behind and no affected voice is left unheard in the relief and rehabilitation effort.
The project sought to accomplish this in 3 steps:
1. Provide a list and all available pre-earthquake information for ALL the villages affected by the earthquake, so that relief agencies could quickly pinpoint the areas that needed help.
2. Work actively with relief-agencies to systmatize their data, allow for easy provision of information to RISEPAK and update the existing database in real-time.
3. Provide an unbiased outlet for all opinions through the notice-board so that praise, complaints and suggestions for relief-actors could be recorded in a non-partisan basis from all affected individuals.
There were several milestones:
1. Launch on October 20th, 10 days after the earthquake. 2. Complete overhaul of the front-end of the website based on initial comments and usage details by November 1st. 3. Update information received on more than 900 villages within 2 months. 4. 1800 notice-board posts within 2 months of setting up.
A large number of relief providers, which included the 3 army divisions; all the district governments in affected areas; and some large and small non government relief providers used RISEPAK maps to do their initial coordination. THe RISEPAK survey forms became the standard prototypes that were used to do the initial damage and needs surveys. As the information on RISEPAK grew so did the number of users. Within over two months we have information on close to 1000 villages; have received close to 2000 messages and the counter shows almost 38000 people have visited the site.
The RISEPAK network has had an active data gathering strategy, which relies on actively contacting information providers. This contact has led to requests for more active assistance and as a result the RISEPAK network has set up databases in the 3 most badly affected districts to track the payment of government compensation. This work was done on the demand of the district governments of this area. Without this intervention, manual processing and tracking of payments was slowing down disbursements of compensation.
Similarly, at the request of 4 non government relief organisations RISEPAK has assisted in the development of databases for these organizations and trained their social mobilisers in standard methodologies of gathering information at the village level.
RISEPAK has also started coming out with monthly bulletins that give details about excluded villages and excluded populations. These bulletins have been picked up by the national press and help to keep the voice of affected citizens that have not obtained any relief alive.
Finally, the World Bank and the Government's Earthquake Relief and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) have placed the RISEPAK network and the information portal at the heart of their cash grants programme. This programme has been designed to give 6 monthly income and house reconstruction support to all affected citizens. RISEPAK has been asked to help district governments create databases of affected citizens, which will be used to generate a list of eligible beneficiaries. RISEPAK has also been asked to verify the information gathered through government surveys.
RISEPAK is an information tool for relief coordination in Pakistani villages affected by the October 2005 Earthquake. The portal is based on an interactive `give-and-take' principle. RISEPAK gives all relief providers, government agencies and affectees the following information about the 4000 affected villages:
a. Demographics and Access: Population, distance from epicenter and distance from a main road
b. Location: The physical location of village clusters
c. Access and Disaster levels: Status of access to affected villages, levels of post-Earthquake damage
d. Relief: Access to relief provided by different organizations
e. Reporting: Summary reports on relief indicators at the village level
f. Verified Small Sample Information: Verified information about a small random sample of villages about access, damage, relief and receipt of government compensation is provided by the RISEPAK team.
Part of this information was available before the earthquake and the portal systematize all pre-earthquake information within a searchable database. Information on the post-earthquake scenario is based on data and posts from villages and relief-agencies. The information received is parsed and collated into the existing database; more `free-flow' information is made available on the notice-board.
RISEPAK thus records information from individuals, governments, non government relief providers about damage, access and relief in villages via phone, SMS, fax, email and online web submission.
RISEPAK records every voice through its Notice Board that provides accounts, comments, opinions, and requests from the field. The Notice Board is searchable by category (needs, damage, relief, road access and more.). It is also searchable by physical location and village name.