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Social media to create earlywarning systems to combat future disasters

Researchers from the Department of Media and Communication are examining how communities can use social media to improve their resilience to both human-made and natural disasters – such as the recent Nepal earthquake or the sinking of ships that left thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea.

The team, led by Dr Paul Reilly (pictured), are contributing to a European Commission Horizon 2020-funded project which will examine how social media can be used to crowdsource information during a crisis situation to help reduce response and recovery times and raise awareness about the risk of future disasters.

The project, ‘IMPROVER: Improved risk evaluation and implementation of resilience concepts to critical infrastructure’, will see the Leicester team look specifically at how community representatives and those involved in emergency management can use social media to create early-warning systems that can be activated during such events.

The Leicester team will consist of Dr Paul Reilly and Research Associate Dr Dimitrinka Atanasova from the Department of Media and Communication, with this part of the project due to finish in December 2016. They will be discussing the research at the IMPROVER kick-off meeting, which will take place at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Borås, Sweden on 11 and 12 June.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 653390.

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