Sahana FOSS Disaster Management System

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"Sahana" redirects here. For the raga, see Shahana. For the Tamil song, see Sahana (song).
Developer(s) Sahana Software Foundation
Stable release 0.9.1 (Vesuvius) and 0.5.4 (Eden) / 2010
Written in PHP, Javascript, Perl, HTML, Python
Operating system Cross-platform
Platform Apache, MySQL
Available in English - Language packs available for v. for Arabic, Bahasa Indonesian, Bengali, Burmese, Simplified Chinese, English/UK, English/US, German, Hindi, Portuguese & Portuguese/Brazil, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Spanish/Latin America, and Tamil.
Type Disaster Management System
License LGPL and MIT

The Sahana Free and Open Source Disaster Management System was conceived during the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami. The system was developed to help manage the disaster and was deployed by the Sri Lankan government's Center of National Operations (CNO), which included the Center of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA). A second round of funding was provided by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The project has grown, with deployments during other disasters such as the Asian Quake in Pakistan (2005), Southern Leyte Mudslide Disaster in Philippines (2006) and the Jogjakarta Earthquake in Indonesia (2006).

Sahana currently has three projects: Eden, being developed in Python; Agasti, being developed in PHP; and the localization project, L10n.


The Sahana project aims to provide a set of modular, web-based disaster management applications.

  • Missing Person Registry: An online bulletin board of missing and found people. It captures information about the people missing and found, and also the information of the person seeking them.
  • Organization Registry: A collaborative “Who is doing what, where” tool which enables tracking of the relief organizations and other stakeholders working in the disaster region. It captures information about the places where each organisation is active and the range of services being provided.
  • Request/Pledge Management System: An online repository where all relief organizations, relief workers, government agents and camps can effectively match requests of aid and supplies to pledges of support. It tracks aid provision from request to fulfillment.
  • Shelter Registry: Keeps track of the location and basic data of shelters in the region. It also provides a geospatial view to plot the location of the camps in the affected area.
  • Inventory Management: Tracking the location, quantities, expiry of supplies stored for utilization in a disaster
  • Situation Awareness: Gives an overview of the event and allows people to add information on what is happening on the ground. It features the ability to plot a note and a photo with additional information on a Map, so that people can collaboratively capture the current disaster situation.
  • Volunteer coordination: Helps NGOs keep track of all their volunteers, their contact information, project allocation, availability and skills to help them distribute staff resources.

Sahana also includes tools for synchronization between multiple instances, allowing for responders or district offices to capture data on victims in the field and exchange the data with the other field offices, headquarters or responders.

Historic Trigger[edit]

The tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, resulted in a massive outpouring of support for the relief of the nearly one million people that it affected. The Sahana was created for information management and collaboration in the aftermath.[1]

Past Deployments

  • Tsunami - Sri Lanka 2005 - Officially deployed in the CNO for the Government of Sri Lanka
  • AsianQuake - Pakistan 2005 - Officially deployed with NADRA for the Government of Pakistan
  • Southern Leyte Mudslide Disaster - Philippines 2006 - Officially deployed with the NDCC and OCD for the Government of Philippines
  • Sarvodaya - Sri Lanka 2006 - Deployed for Sri Lanka's largest NGO
  • Terre des Hommes - Sri Lanka 2006 - Deployed with new Child Protection Module
  • Yogjakarta Earthquake - Indonesia 2006 - Deployed by ACS, urRemote and Indonesian whitewater association and Indonesian Rescue Source
  • Peru Earthquake - Peru 2007 - Deployed and localized into Spanish.
  • Myanmar Cyclone - Myanmar 2008- Currently working in progress to deploy and localize into Burmese.
  • Haiti Earthquake - Haiti 2010- Currently working in progress to deploy and localize into Port-au-Prince and Haiti.
  • Floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia 2014 - Deployed and localized into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian.

Humanitarian-FOSS Community[edit]

Sahana has developed into a community founded by a humanitarian consultant, Paul Currion, and the Sahana project lead, Chamindra de Silva. Much of their work is based on the more generic ideals of Humanitarian-FOSS, where the ideals of FOSS are applied for building humanitarian-ICT applications or applications built to help alleviate human suffering. The community consists of a mailing list and an active wiki with membership including Emergency Management practitioners, Humanitarian Consultants, Crisis Management Academics and Free and Open Source developers from around the world. Domain representation in this group includes members from ISCRAM, UNDP, Red Cross, IBM, Saravodaya (largest NGO in Sri Lanka), Australian Fire Services, etc.

They have been recognized by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), where it inspired a new FSF Award for Projects of Social Benefit, which is broader in coverage than humanitarian-FOSS and by the UNDP IOSN on their Humanitarian-FOSS Portal.[2]


The Sahana Project has resulted in independent research projects. Professor Louiqa Raschid of the University of Maryland is leading/guiding a team in Sahana and Disaster Management research.

Sahana has been presented at numerous conferences/workshops/events and already has one paper accepted for an international conference. A paper on Sahana and Disaster Management was accepted for the 2nd International Conference on Information and Automation 2006.[3] Due to the lack of previous research in ICT for Disaster Management, research has played a key role in Sahana's development.[4]

Sahana is also a participating project in Google Summer of Code.

Recognition & Awards[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]