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National Disaster Contingency Plan for Oil Installations in Lebanon


During an emergency, it is critical to have the right data, at the right time, to enable a fast and appropriate response. When the emergency involves vital national infrastructure, having the necessary information to hand is even more critical.

This was the case for Lebanon’s General Directorate of Gas and Oil, part of the Ministry of Energy & Water, when it needed to lay the foundations for a national disaster contingency plan for the country’s oil installations, gasoline distribution stations, gas stations and related storage tanks. Given the sensitivity of these facilities, it is vital that all information is accurate, accessible and regularly kept up-to-date. The solution was a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Disaster Management System, which was carefully developed by Khatib & Alami (K&A).

Project manager Mounia Badran said: “Disaster management is a continuous process. It starts by working towards preventing disasters from happening. But when disasters do happen, we work towards a fast response and an early recovery with the least possible losses. The GIS-based system will be used for risk analysis, disaster management and emergency response.”

GIS—The Foundation for Emergency Management

During a disaster event such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or oil spills, emergency services would need detailed information concerning gas stations, oil tanks, pipelines, building layout, electrical distribution, sewer systems, and so forth. By utilizing GIS, all relevant departments can share information through databases on computer-generated maps in one location.

Without this capability, emergency responders have to guess, estimate, or make decisions without adequate information. This costs time, money, and – in some cases – lives. GIS provides a mechanism to centralize and visually display critical information during an emergency. The majority of information is spatial and can be mapped. Once information is mapped and data is linked to the map, emergency management planning can begin. Once life, property, and environmental values are combined with hazards, emergency management personnel can begin to formulate mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery program needs.

The modeling of disaster events in GIS enables training for tactical deployment, as well as analysis of the consequences of different scenarios. In this way, the thoughtful application of a GIS can take much of the panic and surprise out of emergencies.

The Innovative Approach to the Field Survey

The scope of this eight-month project included everything from initial surveys to the development of the GIS platform, followed by the uploading of data and finally delivery of training, maintenance and support.

By using Esri’s Survey123 app for K&A Field Surveyors, the team is now able to better coordinate field works and achieve operational efficiencies. Using an e-Data Collection Survey proved to be more efficient and accurate that a paper survey, and helped the management team to stay on top of the field operations by monitoring, tracking and reporting real-time data feeds to focus on what matters the most.