Block Course

Information management in natural and man-made disasters during humanitarian response and recovery

Dr. Soenke Ziesche
United Nations / Maldives National University
VAK: ME-711.99i / ECTS: 4

Course hours:
Mon 05 March 2018 10-12 & 14-18
Tue 06 March 2018 10-16
Wed 07 March 2018 10-12 & 14-18
Thu 08 March 2018 10-18
Fri 09 March 2018 10-12

Location: Cartesium Rotunde, Enrique-Schmidt-Str. 5, 28359 Bremen
Contact: Dr. Thomas Barkowsky (

Course description: Disaster information management refers to the collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of information to support decision-making and coordination in an emergency. Disaster information management requires activities before and after a disaster strikes.
Before a disaster the focus of information management is on the collection, analysis and maintenance of relevant baseline data, which is in developing countries often incomplete or inaccurate. After a disaster has begun the response and recovery operations usually involve a large and diverse range of actors with differing mandates and capacities. Moreover, the humanitarian or recovery situation is often rapidly changing, with accurate and up-to-date information scarce and difficult to locate. Relief workers undertaking activities in a chaotic fast changing environment often lack critical information, which can lead to duplication of efforts, weak coordination and non-optimal use of resources. This coordination challenge can be mitigated through the provision of predictable and standardized disaster information products and services to all stakeholders.
In this course, an overview will be given about basic concepts of disaster information man-agement through latest technologies as well as of critical pre and post disaster information products. A special focus will be on challenges regarding the collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of information in humanitarian and recovery situations. Through a desktop simulation exercise of a disaster, which will be split over the course, students will be able to practise pre- and post-disaster information management.

Soenke Ziesche holds a PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Hamburg, which he received within a Doctoral Program in Cognitive Science. He is also an alumnus of the Graduate Studies Program of the Singularity University.
Soenke has worked since 2000 for the United Nations on four continents in the humanitarian and recovery field. He worked in Gaza with Palestinian refugees, in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, in Pakistan after the Kashmir earthquake, in Sudan after the end of the North-South conflict and he was the highest UN representative in Libya during the revolution. He was also posted to New York for four years and to London for one year.
Since 2014 Soenke has served as a consultant in the fields of humanitarian, recovery and sustainable development affairs to various UN agencies as well as on behalf of the UN to the Governments of Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka respectively.