Mobile phones can be a great tool to help people in emergencies. To help organizations or activists decide when and how to use SMS, the GSMA recently published a draft “Code of Conduct for the Use of SMS in Natural Disaster”.
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.
I have just spent a few days brainstorming on a policy paper about how information collection and analysis can be improved to lead to better decision making in times of crisis. This blog post contains some of our central thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think about them.
One of the most promising uses of social media in disasters is for remote assessments of situations on the ground. “Geofeedia” just made this job easier.
As many of you know, I’m quite critical when it comes to how to the impressive information gathering possibilities of crisis mapping tools turn into actionable information for responders. On LinkedIn someone shared a video with me today where Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier addresses some of these concerns.
One of the biggest mistakes that international organizations make is not taking enough time to explain to journalists why thing are complicated and take a long time. But taking that time and investing into communications pays off.
I have been given the opportunity to return to Haiti for the next three months. I will be working as the communicator for the inter-agency “Shelter Cluster”. That will mean that for the immediate future this blog will be less about social media and primarily about my time in Haiti.
Wired magazine just published an excellent article about the Red Cross Red Crescent relief operation in Haiti. Author Vince Beiser takes 13 pages to describe the inner workings of the operation. And while he is not shy on criticism, it is well balanced and fair.