Disaster Relief Takes on a New Meaning

Since the Boulder Fire (Four Mile Fire), I’ve been seeing an increase the use of community to help during disaster. Boulder Fire presented an opportunity for citizens to help by organizing around social media. In my research report, “Community During Crisis“, there is apparent useful factors to social media during crisis and behavior of community. Fragmentation occurs making it difficult to aggregate resources using social media. I got fascinated by the idea of community disaster relief and aggregating needs and help. I looked at a number of different platforms, all of these organizations provide good intentions, but do not solve the fragmentation issue.

  • Crisis Commons provides acceptable form of communication using wiki
  • Ushahidi has a crisis platform that incorporates crowdsourcing
  • Google has person finder and crisis response page
  • Several others individually providing crisis mapping and information

Crowdsourcing community during a disaster is a pragmatic direction for gathering help but it must be done in a uniformed, trackable way, so that information can be found by those who need it and by those providing it. There were several platforms, that grew from a simple bulletin board system to providing the means for housing during crisis. I believe Ushahidi will continue to provide the means for people in need.

Ushahidi is an nonprofit, that provides a means for community driven disaster relief and is working to create a platform that can be easily deployed for any natural disaster. Ushahidi will probably be the standard for community driven disaster relief.

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