Editor’s note: David Richards is co-founder and CEO of WANdisco, a public software company specializing in the area of distributed computing. It is a corporate contributor to Hadoop, Subversion and other open source projects.
When Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, it struck a very vulnerable target. The Pacific nation is considered one of the world’s poorest and is ranked by the United Nations’ WorldRiskIndex as the most disaster-prone country.
Yet for a storm significantly stronger than Hurricane Katrina, Cyclone Pam resulted in a relatively low number of casualties. Early warnings helped save scores of lives across the 80 low-lying islands, which have a population of roughly 260,000.
It was difficult to gauge the extent of Pam’s devastation even after the storm subsided, with communication failures making it difficult for authorities to have a true picture of the devastation. But like in many disaster zones, authorities expected the worst, with the…
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