Training on Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Management in South Sudan

Group photo: AI Training in Juba - 10 September 2021 ©UNESCO

In 2020, the effects of floods in South Sudan led to death and displacement, increased people’s vulnerability through loss of homes, assets and income, reduced access to basic needs and services such as water, food, healthcare and education and disrupted social and cultural networks and related insecurity due to the impact of climate change. For quick and efficient response, as well as for recovery after any natural catastrophe, one of the most important things are accurate and reliable spatial data in real or near real-time. Artificial intelligence (AI) offers the opportunities for improving rapid response and fostering disaster resiliency.

Under the auspices of the Government of Japan, UNESCO through its Office in Nairobi is supporting East African Countries including South Sudan to strengthen national capacities to manage disasters with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).  As part of the project implementation, half-day workshops were organized by the UNESCO Office in Juba with the national stakeholders on 10th and 14th September 2021 to build capacities on the use of an AI Chatbot smartphone application that enables (1) access to pre-disaster warning information, (2) during disaster reporting, and (3) post-disaster management. The workshop brought together 47 key actors in the government ministries, higher institutions of learning and community representatives to participate in the training.

The chatbot supports dissemination of information to citizen, helps the authorities to better grasp and react to the disasters, such as where to go to rescue and to know in advance damage on the infrastructure at the affected areas, communicates with the survivors who need assistance to rehabilitate their lives to find out the possible public support such as the location shelters, distribution of foods.

We must take up the responsibility to report incidences of disaster in our area to help authorities intervene and save lives. We are grateful to UNESCO and their sponsor (Japan) for this training. We are optimistic the application of the AI chatbot will offer enormous benefits for improving disaster response in South Sudan.
Mr. Peter Kenyi, ICT Technician at the South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum