InaSAFE Training in Salima, Malawi

InaSAFE is software that produces realistic natural hazard impact scenarios for better planning, preparedness and response activities. It provides a simple but rigorous way to combine data from scientists, local governments and communities to provide insights into the likely impacts of future disaster events. To meet the needs of the Government of Malawi, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) asked Kartoza, an Open Source Geospatial Solutions company, to conduct a three-day training on InaSAFE from July 25th – 27th in Salima. With a total of 14 participants in attendance, there were staff from different government departments including the Department of Disaster Affairs, Surveys department, UNIMA-Polytechnic, Physical planning, and Department of Land Resources.

The training started off with a look at QGIS, the open source geographic information systems software on which InaSAFE runs. Trainees were taught how to manipulate spatial data, add attributes, project and subset layers and then moved on installing the InaSAFE plugin themselves. These exercises were followed by opportunities to explore the user interface. Using the data they manipulated, attendees assigned hazard and exposure keywords to the layers, preparing them as inputs for the first flood scenario analysis. To experiment further, additional exposure datasets were downloaded from OpenStreetMap and used for analysis together with high resolution hazard data developed by RASOR project.


Karonga district Flood hazard scenario analysis using exposure data from OpenStreetMap and hazard data generated from RASOR project developed from a 12m resolution TanDEM-X Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

Towards the end of the workshop, there was an interactive session where trainees were taught on how to do a basic customization of InaSAFE to fit into the Malawi context.
During and after a disaster, providing basic human minimum needs of food, water, hygiene and shelter is an important part of contingency planning. InaSAFE has a customizable minimum needs system that allows users to define country specific requirements for compiling a needs report where the exposure layer represents population. This information is currently lacking for Malawi. Led by staff from Department of Disaster Management Affairs, a test list of these minimum requirements was drawn and used for analysis of Malawi specific scenario on how potable water, for example, would be needed in the event of a flood in specific hotspots districts.

The staff who attended the workshop are able to contribute to InaSAFE’s development moving forward – they have been asked to discuss and submit a list of Malawi minimum requirements to InaSAFE developers so that they can be included in the next release of the plugin.


InaSAFE Training participants 25th July 2016, Salima Photo by GFDRR