The UN Crisis Awareness Center On Awareness of Crises [CACOAC] recently rolled out their new smartphone app, called “Aware”. The app was designed to provide populations of areas that have been hit by a natural disaster, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones with a way to report and ask for assistance.
However, the app crashed on Monday when the Greek island of Kefalonia was hit by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake. At this time, it appears as if at least seven were injured, but no deaths were reported. During the quake, a few residents attempted to log on to Aware, but to no avail.
“We believe that the problem may have been caused by the earthquake. Because too many people logged on to the app at the same time, our system went down,” said CAOCAC president, Liu-A Wang. It is unclear when the app will go live again so that residents can log in for assistance.
System Crash Despite Redundant Preparedness
“Another problem is that we don’t have enough redundancy in our systems, and the power failures may have also played a role,” Wang stated at Tuesday’s press conference. The CACOAC Department of Redundancy Preparedness Department [DRPD] was unable to give comment as to when they would be able to fix this current problem for future disasters.
“We need to have our redundant systems repeating over and over, so that if something happens again, and a crisis occurs a second time, we can react and be aware about the crisis, informing the CACOAC and helping with crisis awareness,” said DRPD secretary Jim Jameson.
However, despite the fact that the UN had attempted to be prepared for such an event like Kefalonia’s earthquake, their system crashed because of rampant power failure often caused by tremors. The Athens office for the CACOAC has been launching inquiries with one question in mind: How much does it cost to make a website so that they can backup the Aware app’s servers and allow residents to try and log on via the internet?
CACOAC Tweets On Twitter
Because the Aware app had sustained several systemic failures during the quake, due to power failure, CACOAC has decided to add ways that natural disaster sufferers can log on. Social media seems to be their next solution.
“We want to provide people with multiple ways of requesting assistance and letting us know what’s going on out there. This is why we are also urging people to tweet us or message our Facebook account if they cannot access Aware due to power failure.”
Some crisis preparedness experts believe this is a waste of time. According to Guardian disaster analyst and correspondent, Dr. Joe Dunbar, the problem is the fact that the CACOAC seems to have no idea what they are doing:
“They launch an app and expect people to use it during a crisis scenarios that have a habit of knocking out electricity. An earthquake happens, the power goes out, and the app goes down. Then, they tell people to instead use social media instead, which depends on access to electricity—and they’re doing this in countries where nobody has smartphones or computers. …Sure, makes perfect sense.”
Dunbar quipped with a sarcastic smirk, “It’s like running to the grocery store because a storm is coming and the power could go out… so you buy eggs and milk.”