Dr Dan Jorgensen from the University of Ontario in Canada outlined this in an update on the drought and frost last Friday.
He said it was important to use people on the ground to conduct assessments in the face of reports of hunger, garden failure, bushfires, water and health issues.
“The usefulness of this tool is that it’s easy to apply and allows us to distinguish between areas in which food is short, and water and health are adequate,” Jorgensen said of a real-time bushfire facility created at the University of PNG.
“This level of detail may be crucial in planning response in critical situations,” he said.
Jorgensen said there was a consensus that the current dry season could last until the middle of next year. But the impact could be alleviated with the help of technology.
“The difference between 1997 (drought) and now is back then, it required field teams to go out and do the assessments on the ground.
“But now we can actually do the assessments in the field with people using smart phones. As long as we know how to use this mechanism, it can provide pretty powerful feedback on the evolving state of the drought and its impact.”
He said using people on the ground was not only quicker but also economical.
Meanwhile, a situational update revealed damage to food crops in North Fly, upper Sepik and areas near the Indonesian border. Those affected in particular were Derolengum village, Telefolip village, Kobramin, Oksimin, Kubrenmin village, Bultem village and Tumolbil.