SOS Children’s Villages Quickens Disaster Response TimeEverstream Team
SOLUTIONS: Incident Monitoring; Risk Assessment
“The unique advantage of Everstream Analytics for SOS Children’s Villages is that the incident reports are related directly to our programme locations. We know at what distance from our nearest programmes an event has happened, and have immediate situational awareness through R360’s risk and historical incident data. By using the platform, we spend less time working out how an event affects our operations, and more time delivering our response.”
– Andreas Papp, International Director of Emergency Response, SOS Children´s Villages
Ensuring the safety and security of sites in 137 countries around the world is a formidable task, especially when many of those locations are in some of the world’s least stable and most vulnerable locations. Since 1949, SOS Children’s Villages has worked to safeguard children and protect their rights in some of the world’s most challenging places. Its care, educations, and health services support hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and their families in and around the SOS Children’s Villages every year.
The service of maintaining safe environments for at-risk children is often compounded by the risks of natural and manmade disasters that affect many of the regions in which SOS Children’s Villages operates. SOS Children’s Villages has a permanent Global Emergency Response (GER) Team, based at its HQ in Austria. That team’s role is to monitor any emerging risks, from severe weather events to political unrest, then to deliver the appropriate support and resources to ensure the safety of its staff and beneficiaries on the ground. To accomplish its goals, access to timely, accurate, and detailed information is vital.
In 2016, SOS Children’s Villages introduced a new online platform to support its risk management and response efforts, Everstream Analytics. The NGO uses a number of different features of the Everstream platform, some of which were standard elements of the solution and others which were specially developed to meet the particular needs of SOS Children’s Villages.
The backbone of the platform is a geographical model encompassing every program site in the SOS Children’s Villages complex network. That visibility provides the GER Team with a graphical view of each location along with the location of critical infrastructure such as utilities, hospitals, and transport links. The model also acts as a central repository for risk-related information, including historical natural catastrophe data and storing information and reports provided by the organization’s local and regional staff. For each point in the network, Everstream Risk Assessment combines data from multiple public and proprietary sources to provide an overview of more than 35 different risk categories. That information helps the NGO with its contingency planning and strategic risk management efforts, allowing it to focus its attention on the most significant risks in each location. Everstream also helps the organization to identify emerging situations that may have implications for its sites. The platform’s Risk Monitoring service tracks traditional and social media, along with multiple other data sources, and alerts national and regional offices and the GER Team to events in relevant locations.
– Improve risk management and contingency planning
– Receive alerts/early warnings of events and incidents, potentially affecting the safety of staff and beneficiaries
– Optimize the coordination and effectiveness of response after disruptive events
– Everstream Analytics Incident Monitoring delivers near real time alerts on events and incidents with the potential to affect operating locations
– Everstream Analytics Risk Assessment provides site-specific data on exposure to more than 35 different risk categories
– All relevant risk, incident, and response data kept in one place with a clear, easy to use graphical interface
– Satellite data is more detailed and easier to interpret than text-based situation reports
– Increased reaction speed to disasters and emergencies for faster response coordination
The significance of utilizing the Everstream Analytics’ solution was confirmed during the April 2017 attack on two Coptic churches in Egypt, in Alexandria and Tanta, both towns in which a SOS Children’s Village is located. In Tanta, the attack occurred only 5.6km away from the village, posing the very real risk that staff or beneficiaries may have been worshipping at the targeted church. A member of the GER Team received the Everstream alert just minutes after the event occurred and raised the alarm among colleagues. Due to the early notification from the platform, the GER team was able to contact both its COO and colleagues in the village with news of the event and began coordinating a response even before the incident was picked up by major news outlets.
In the critical first hours after a disaster, ensuring that decision- makers at all levels of the organization work from the same information and receive it simultaneously is instrumental for a speedy response. This encompasses the alerts as well as the risk data and supporting documents attached to nodes. The manual incident function also means that local managers are able to communicate situational updates and needs instantaneously. Also, special features added by Everstream per the request of SOS Children’s Villages included the automated integration of satellite imagery into the platform, providing a bird’s eye view of the current situation on the ground in the affected region. “If we know the severity and extent of damage directly after any kind of disaster has hit one of our regions, we can allocate resources more efficiently,” says Andreas Papp, International Director of Emergency Response, SOS Children ́s Villages. “The visual representation of damaged infrastructure or inundated areas allows an easier interpretation of local conditions than text-based incident reports.”
SOS Children’s Villages can rely on Everstream to assess all relevant risk, incident, and response data to help the NGO increase reaction speed to disasters and emergencies, allowing faster response coordination on a global level.