Photos: How tech is aiding disaster relief after the Nepal earthquakes
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Google brought back an adapted version of its Person Finder after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit. Person Finder originally launched in 2010 after the massive Haiti earthquake. Individuals can post details about friends or family members they believe are missing or affected by the earthquake, or post information about someone if they think they’ve seen them.
Ushahidi, which is a crowdsourced mapping platform, doesn’t have software deployments in Nepal, but because of the earthquake, they are monitoring closely how their software is being used by people there. They are looking at two locally run deployments, and one is Nepal Monitor, which collects human rights and security reports. It’s being used to track the earthquakes.
This platform, Nepal Earthquakes 2015, is also locally run, and offers information about where the earthquakes hit the hardest, places to donate clothes, food, and other guides, as well as where volunteers are needed. People on the ground have worked with USAID and the World Bank to compile and organize the information.
Nepal had power blackouts long before the earthquake. After it hit, of course, health clinics and hospitals are overflowing, and electricity is crucial. People are turning to solar power to keep the power running, and nonprofits are raising money to donate solar power systems. For instance, SunFarmer has raised more than $100,000 to donate and install solar projects throughout the country. All the donations will be doubled, up to $20,000, by the organization’s corporate partners, and in Canada, the government is tripling the donations to relief aid.
Drone damage assessment
Drones have been used in several ways following the earthquakes, including news coverage –CNN and NBC have both used it extensively — and for damage assessment. Global Medic has a fleet of four drones in Nepal (pictured is one of the types, the Aeryon Scout), using them to provide real time assessment to emergency responders. However, Nepal has moved to limit the number of drones, and they now have to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Crowdfunding, which started becoming popular post-disasters after Hurricane Sandy, has reached new heights with the earthquakes in Nepal. Indiegogo, which now has an entire section of the site dedicated to funding campaigns for aid relief, has raised more than $1.5 million from 134 different campaigns and more than 16,000 people.
Though it’s nothing new, SMS messaging is still very effective during disaster relief. Global Giving has raised about half of its $5 million funding goal.
Tomnod is a crowdsourced platform for people to use satellite images to explore and solve problems. For Nepal, Tomnod asked people to start by comparing before and after imagery and place tags on every damaged road or building they find.