standard SMS helps map flood disaster in Pakistan

A website uses the Ushahidi Platform to map reports from people in Pakistan affected by flooding and whether they are in need of emergency aid such as clean water or shelter.  Anyone in Pakistan can send an SMS from their location to report on hazards in their area.  Their report is then mapped along with others using Google maps.  While using SMS messaging to inform volunteers, government and others about hazards happening on the ground is limited to some degree, there is no doubt that it can play a role in ensuring that others receive help who are unable to communicate in any other way.  Of course this also depends on whether they have a mobile phone or other means of sending texts as well, which during many hazards, such as flooding, electronic devices are often destroyed. 

What’s interesting about this site in particular is that people can actually volunteer without being in Pakistan by helping to sift through hazard and emergency aid reports: http://pakreport.org/ushahidi/page/index/2.  Judging from the number of reports that need to be verified, this might be worth your time and effort, especially if it can in some way help people receive the aid they need.  The maps generated by Google even break down what kinds of resources are needed based on SMS reports received.  Whether these technologies help people become more resilient to flooding is an interesting question that is worth further investigation.

Link to website: http://pakreport.org/ushahidi/main#


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