Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC) aim to establish capabilities for early detection, monitoring and informed response coordination to disasters in urban areas. NDOC and KDN have deployed a camera surveillance system dubbed the Wall Eyes Horizon (WEH) System. Hence the partnership, in an upgrading program geared towards establishing a disaster early detection and monitoring camera surveillance system in urban areas.
This primarily consists of a surveillance centre linked to a network of surveillance cameras mounted strategically on and inside high-rise buildings, major roads and highways, telecom and lighting masts in low-cost housing areas, football stadiums, shopping malls, railways centres and airports in Nairobi and Mombasa, the WEH system provides the NDOC with access to continuous, real-time camera surveillance of populated zones for early disaster detection and monitoring.
The upgrade aims to allow for more informed rapid response from relief and security services during disasters and will go a long way to averting extreme situations that may result in massive loss of life and property. KDN has laid more than 6000 kilometers of fibre in all major East African towns so far, and has taken an active role in the upgrading program for the National Disaster Operations Centre.
National Disaster Operation Centre Director, Col (Rtd) Vincent Lee Anami said the centre approached private companies and organizations for strategic partnerships due to the need to leverage off synergies and expertise available within the corporate sector. The call for partnerships in establishing and escalating the WEH system received a prompt response with several building owners and managements seeking to integrate their camera surveillance systems into the NDOC’s surveillance feed on a needs basis – i.e. when the buildings are faced with emergencies.
NDOC has, in the last three months, received reports of over 100 fire incidents and 5000 homes destroyed in different residential areas simply because fire engines and rescue efforts came too late as a result of poor communication and detection systems which led to poor coordination of disaster services. The cameras will help NDOC to quickly mobilize response initiatives to emergencies and improve our role as the main coordinating body in responding to disasters and emergencies.
KDN support has been invaluable in the partnership following the NDOC call that attracted, among other organizations, search engine Google, the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources and Development (RCMRD), ESRIEA, UNOCHA and the Nairobi Central Business District Association.
The private-public partnership has so far seen the establishment of a camera surveillance system and an inter-agency inter-government-department Disaster Information Platform (DIP) through which the citizens of Kenya will be able to access emergency relief.