Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help for Haitian Earthquake Victims

One of the difficulties that Haitians are currently experiencing is the difficulty of telling aid organizations where they are and what their needs are.  For example, I have an aunt and an uncle in Port-au-Prince who is taking care of 300 people affected by the earthquake.  They need water, baby supplies, and masks.  But they have no way of connecting to the aid organizations in Port-au-Prince and of course those organizations have no way of connecting to them and people like them.  I saw a report on CNN yesterday where some UN folks simply went to a location and waited for people to go them.  The location was not picked on the basis of population density or where there was the most need.  It was simply where the UN folks felt like stopping.  This is where technology can help.
This website is allows Haitians to report their needs (medical emergency, violence, fire, water etc.), it tracks and maps their location so that aid organizations can see where people need help and what it is that they need.  Haitians can report by test message, twitter, email, or website.  As importantly, their families, for example families in the U.S., can send a report about the various needs.  This is a crowd-sourcing and social media technology that can be helpful.   Spread the word.

I was alerted to this by Harvard Professor Archon Fung, who has written about crowd-sourcing in the context of elections monitoring.  Thanks Archon.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks you for concerns for our haitian earthquake victims. Thanks again for your articles, in CNN, about black looters. I said to muself,'What the media are talking about. Check out our video and take notes of men heavyly armed and ready to shot our people for food. As result of that, they have burned some of them wih tires around them, reported by CNN.

    youtube: Haiti State of Emergency

    Share this video with everybody to ontribute money.The nation will need help for many years to come.