The impact of cyclone Ockhi that claimed several lives and caused widespread damage to property in Kerala could have been minimised by using non-profitable technologies as instruments for disaster management, an expert said.

"There is a reluctance to use technologies which is a great challenge to mitigation of disaster management," chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Muralee Thummarukudy said. He was referring to the damage caused by Ockhi in Kerala apart from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep.

Speaking at #StartupCharcha organised by Maker Village at Kerala Technology Information Zone, Kinfra Hi-Tech Park here, he said technologies which yielded more profit become popular in the market soon. In this regard, he pointed out that during the late 1990s when mobile phones became popular, it was the fishermen from Kerala who made use of the technology in a productive manner.

"The fishermen were able to know the price of the fish at each market and would sell it at the place which gave them the maximum price," he said. "A study was also conducted at the international level to find out how technology was used by the fishermen in Kerala to increase their profit," he added.

When some young entrepreneurs said technologies developed by ISRO were available for Rs 2,000 for fishing boats, he said people did seriously consider leveraging technologies to mitigate disaster.

"We are still not able to find out how many fishermen were at sea when the Ockhi cyclone hit the shores," he said. The future for startups is in healthcare, entertainment and mobility as the population of those retired from service will increase in India, he said.

"Start-ups should come up with good ideas which can change the society and keeping a track of future requirements," he added.