East Hawaii News

Pacific Disaster Center Helps Fight Zika Globally

April 5, 2016, 1:51 PM HST
* Updated April 5, 2:08 PM
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The Pacific Disaster Center, run by the University of Hawai’i, is monitoring the Zika virus and assisting in the combat against the disease.

PDC monitors and maps outbreaks and relays information to the government and international agencies involved in the strategic response to the mosquito-born disease.

Using visualization and integration of environmental and health data through PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform, the center is able to support easy visualization and integration of environmental and health data.

The Center’s DisasterAWARE software product is regularly used by primary disaster management agencies in Hawai‘i, by U.S. federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, as well as by disaster management agencies in countries around the globe, and even by the United Nations.

Customized versions of DisasterAWARE have also been delivered to agencies in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Association of South East Asian Nations.

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Recently, UH was awarded a five-year cooperative agreement from the United State Department of Defense to continue to serve as the Managing Partner of the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui.

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PDC is able to deliver disaster risk reduction solutions—including risk and vulnerability assessment and innovative tools and services—to disaster managers and the public to help avoid hazards becoming disasters and disasters becoming crises.

“This vote of confidence by the U.S. government in our work is a testament to the success of our entire team in advancing our mission,” said PDC Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai. “The capabilities of UH and RCUH have enabled us to meet the unique needs of our stakeholders and customers in Hawai‘i, throughout the U.S., among nations in Asia, and beyond.”

UH has served as managing partner for PDC since 2006, when it was first selected through a competitive process to assume management responsibility.

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The agreement was again awarded to UH in 2009 for six years, and was renewed in 2015 for an additional five years. Additionally, based on the success of the program, the new cooperative agreement was expanded from the base agreement of about $30 million to include a ceiling of $75 million for the performance period.

“This is a compelling example of how UH is helping Hawai‘i and the world,” said UH President David Lassner, who is the PDC Principal Investigator. “PDC offers some of the best high tech jobs on Maui, many of which go to our own student interns when they graduate. And every day, the PDC team is making people safer through the deployment of PDC technologies, programs, education, and training.”

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