I’m grateful to be one of ten fellows selected to attend the 5th International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM) in Nairobi, Kenya from November 18-22. The ICCM brings together the most engaged practitioners, scholars, software developers and policymakers at the cutting edge of crisis mapping and humanitarian technology.
I’ve been volunteering as a crisis mapper since the Haiti earthquake, and have helped with the Japan earthquake, Typhoon Pablo and the recent Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Having grown up in Jakarta and Manila, the cycle of devastation, international aid and corruption has been all too familiar. With the power of social media and the tools of crisis mapping, I believe we can develop a platform to track aid not only when it’s pledged in a press release, but through to when it is delivered at the village level. If citizens can participate in sending social media reports of aid delivery delays, then we can identify and track issues and the NGO, government and private sectors can collaborate more quickly and effectively to help communities.
A large part of the Philippines’ emergency response efforts are organized by a robust network of private citizens and their network of fixers who are able to act quickly through email, text and social media, and part of what I’m trying to do is help get their reports included in relief tracking initiatives. Through this network we have been able to update the disaster maps for under mapped and underserved areas. I’ve also connected with the Ateneo de Manila University who are currently using drones to map these areas, and am looking into the use of drones to verify data on aid delivery delays.
We’re also looking to fund the set up of a radio and SMS network in partnership with news networks to help communicate with remote communities.
I’m currently in Manila to help develop and launch this citizen reporting platform, and with anything else I can for the next little while. If you’re interested in donating to help Typhoon Yolanda victims, Gawad Kalinga and Tao Philippines are doing excellent work.