Calytrix Technologies (Australia) has been awarded a contract to develop and deliver a suite of training and operational systems by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) under the disaster management interoperability simulation and training capability (DeMIST) project. The DeMIST project will see systems, training and support delivered for both operational and training activities across Asia and other WFP areas of operation. The project is being conducted under the auspices of the Asian emergency preparedness and response (AEPR) initiative, currently hosted by the Bangkok-based Regional Bureau of the United Nations WFP.

DeMIST is designed as an end-to-end solution that integrates a number of simulation, visualisation and collaboration systems into a cohesive planning, management and exercise environment. DeMIST provides the WFP and its partner agencies with the ability to conduct multi-level misaster management exercises (DME) at senior coordination levels within a multi-agency environment. The DEMIST simulation offers the ability to facilitate a DME capability for all levels of emergency/disaster response to ensure situational awareness and exercise immersion. It enhances the WFP’s ability to support contingency planning and response activities through the provision of simulations, coupled with evaluation and reporting capabilities, leveraging information from diverse sources and presenting it in an easily understandable manner.

While DeMIST has an initial training focus, many of the systems are being targeted in the medium term to addressing operational needs around greater communications and collaboration tools to aid senior planning and relief coordination personnel. This notably includes the ability to rapidly deploy and share a visualisation of the disaster area, complete with logistics elements, and a collaborative environment to increase reporting and information exchange. DeMIST represents a new capability and the operational environment in conjunction with existing and mature systems will better facilitate communications and coordination across a disaster-affected region.

Anthony Craig, senior regional emergency adviser for the WFP Asia Bureau, said, “As we are seeing yet again in Haiti, diverse organisations working in a well informed and coherent manner in response to disasters is critical to saving lives and getting the right capabilities at the right time and at the right place. Our partnership with Calytrix opens some very exciting opportunities.

In particular we see exercises, supported by DeMIST, as key in enhancing understanding, as they will allow us to more realistically conduct ‘dress rehearsals’ before a disaster strikes with the people who are likely to respond. We also believe that the products being developed as part of the project will give us a significant uplift in understanding the current and potential situations we are facing.”

Matt Moncrieff, the project manager for Calytrix on DeMIST stated, “DeMIST is a very exciting project for Calytrix and represents an important move away from our traditional military domain. We are looking forward to continuing our close relationship with the WFP over the course of this exciting and challenging project, and the opportunity to enhance disaster response across our region.”