Applying ICT for Disaster Mitigation in the Central American Isthmus

Central America is subject to frequent climate variability resulting in floods and droughts. The Regional Committee for Water Resources (CRRH) highlights El Niño (1982-1983 and 1997-1998), Hurricane Mitch (1998), and the droughts of 2000 and 2001, all of which resulted in considerable mortality and economic loss. Countries in the region have expressed interest in using information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve local preparedness and response mechanisms. But, while a great deal of satellite and remote sensing data are collected by government and private agencies, they do not necessarily reach those who need them, much less in a usable form and timely manner.

This project will focus on two transboundary river basins, the San Juan (Costa Rica and Nicaragua) and the Rio Negro (Honduras and Nicaragua). Both rivers are located in the path of low-pressure systems associated with intense precipitation, and increasingly longer periods of drought. Researchers will explore the potential of such tools as geographic information systems (GIS) for hazard mapping, and drought and flood modeling; remote sensing for weather forecasting; community-based systems for flood monitoring; and community radio for empowering local communities to prepare for and respond to floods and droughts. The project will strive to connect data providers (including the scientific and technical community) with data users (local communities, water and sanitation operators, the general public) in order to mitigate the adverse effects of natural disasters.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Saturday, March 1, 2008

End Date

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


18 months

IDRC Officer

Smith, Matthew

Total funding

CA$ 252,700


Costa Rica, North and Central America, Honduras, Nicaragua, South America


Networked Economies

Project Leader

Pablo Gonzalez


General Secretariat of the Organization of American States

Institution Country

United States

Institution Website