Following the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on Boxing Day in 2004, the open source community of Sri Lanka got together to develop a disaster management system in three weeks, spearheaded by the Lanka Software Foundation, a FOSS R&D non-profit organization in Sri Lanka, with contributions from about 80 volunteer developers.

Sahana is the resulting application, a secure Web portal that provides applications for coordination and collaboration in the aftermath of disasters. Applications include finding missing people, connecting organizations, reporting on the distribution of aid and services, matching donations to requests, tracking temporary shelters, and, overall, providing transparency and visibility to groups working in a disaster. Key features include GIS, biometrics, PDA support, and availability in the form of a live CD. It’s been used during Pakistan earthquake and in the Philippines mud slides, Sahana was used to manage and track organizations, people, and camps.

It has been featured recently as Project of the Month for June 2006

It is aimed at Disaster administrators, government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), disaster victims and is actually used only during disasters or while preparing for one.

Free and open source is all about voluntary work, and in a disaster there are lot of IT experts wanting to assist, so to my mind it makes sense that a disaster management system should be free and open source.

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