International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001



Creation of an integrated model for disaster information management

By Ileana Sánchez / CRID

CRID will soon begin preparations for the creation of an integrated model for disaster information management. With the purpose of holding a consultation process for this initiative and, from the beginning, foster the participation required to develop it, a first Regional Meeting was held in San José, on September 21-22, 2004, gathering 36 professionals from different countries who represented 20 national institutions and regional organizations.


This model will analyze and interconnect all urrent relevant aspects for the establishment, development and management of disaster information centers. Along these lines, it is expected that the following topics be included in this model:

• Theoretical and conceptual foundations: the meaning of information as a means for
knowledge communication, and its pivotal role in those activities included in risk management (research, planning, education, etc.)
• An optimal and functional profile of information centers that specialize in disaster and related issues.
• Actions involved in the creation of information centers, based upon an approach to strategic planning.
• Information center management.
• Information management.
• Working methodologies and technological options: technological infrastructure, designand implementation.
• Knowledge transfer for staff development (training), educational aspects, and appro- priate methodologies for outreach activities.

Taking into consideration the thematic structure and educational features of this model, it may be defined as a handbook. However, since it does not represent a closed operational guide but an educational and reference tool applicable to multiple particular situations, it was decided to use the concept of working model to classify this product.

Basically, this model will include the systematization of all experiences gained by CRID while working on and supporting the creation and management of information centers, such as the Central American Network for Disaster and Health Information (CANDHI). It is worth mentioning that the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) will offer technical assistance, and that both the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR) have provided the financial resources required to develop this project. In addition, the aforementioned Regional Meeting helped develop links with other regional institutions in order to establish collaboration. Finally, various consultants will be hired to work towards this goal.

Expected outcome

It is expected that this reference model will serve as an effective tool that supports the planning, evaluation, implementation and training actions included in this process for designing, establishing and developing information centers.

In this context, results will be primarily reflected on the creation and strengthening of these information centers and, indirectly, on the progress made in risk management by organizations, projects and communities that benefit from this model.


In line with this plan, the project is intended for two types of beneficiaries:

a) Direct beneficiaries: institutions, groups and individuals interested in implementing or improving organized initiatives related to disaster and risk information services.

b) Indirect beneficiaries: current and future users of these services.

As stated before, a number of organizations are interacting while preparing this educational material. In addition, the model will be designed in such a way that it will be used in an interactive manner. In other words, the cooperating organizations involved and CRID itself will have the valuable opportunity to receive feedback when designing and using the model.

Finally, since both the interest and applicability of its contents may be extended to other knowledge areas, as well as to a number sectoral and institutional actions, the model will have a multipurpose feature: its theoretical, methodological and technical aspects will be of interest to different fields of social development, such as public health and education.


It is anticipated that the creation and validation of this new model will require 12 months.

We encourage you to keep informed about this project, and we welcome your comments and suggestions.