The Philippines are currently reeling from the impact of three successive typhoons that have displaced close to 250,000 people and killed at least 50.
Being one of the countries with the highest social media penetration, affected communities and disaster responders alike are using Facebook, Twitter and standard Google tools to communicate needs and coordinate the response.
Using very simple mechanisms such as two widely communicated hashtags, Google forms/spreadsheets, and Google maps the government compiled information on requests for assistance and shared these publicly over the web so that anyone with the means to help could respond.
The spreadsheet also includes a code for completed requests, which is something I’m missing from many more sophisticated crowdsourced applications.
Here are two articles that describe what was done in more detail:
- (New York Times blog) Filipinos Turn to Twitter as a Lifeline After Severe Flooding
- (iRevolution) Crowdsourcing Crisis Response Following Philippine Flood
Update (11. August 2012): YouTube and Storyful have deepened their cooperation to highlight emergency related videos on the YouTube homepage. While YouTube has done this on an ad-hoc basis in the past, they now seem to have a structured approach to it which was used for the first time in the context of the Philippines floods.