With over 3,000 dead and 6,500 injured, the 7.8-magnitude quake was a tragic blow to Nepal — with tent cities springing up in capital city Kathmandu for the displaced. As reported by the BBC, over 200 trekkers were saved in the Mount Everest area where the quake had caused avalanches and dozens were reportedly killed in neighboring Chinese and Indian cities.
As news continues to come in, the world has begun to pitch in with humanitarian tech efforts in the form of crowdfunding platforms, open street maps and tools to locate lost persons. As the majority of these tools are open source, anyone with a computer and Internet connection can help. And you don’t need to be well-versed with data either — the creators of these tools have created tutorials so all can lend a hand in helping Nepal.
First launched in 2010 following the Haiti earthquake, Google’s Person Finder uses text messaging to facilitate the search for and update information on missing people following a natural disaster. The tool was also used during the 2011 earthquake in Japan and has since added multiple languages. In the past two days, Person Finder has already tracked around 5,300 records in Nepal and anyone can contribute.
A basic and effective tool that’s linked to your friend’s list developed specifically for the Nepal quake. If you have friends living in or traveling in affected areas, Facebook allows them to ‘mark’ themselves as ‘safe’ to let their loved ones know they’re alive and well.
An American crowdfunding platform that has created a dedicated page for the Nepal quake. A number of campaigns are already running, including independent relief funds and ones tied to the American Red Cross, and backers have already pitched in over US$300,000.
A crowdsourced street map effort that documents Nepal’s roads, buildings, residential areas to aid in relief efforts such as communicating where’s best to land an aircraft or which areas need help the most. Anyone with a computer and the Internet can add information to the maps either by using web satellite maps remotely or contributing data on the ground.
Launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs last summer, the Humanitarian Digital Exchange is an open source platform that logs data sets about Nepal to keep the public and relief teams informed. Data includes information about schools, roads, hospitals, bodies of water and local governmental units.
We’ll continue updating this list as we find more tools. If you know of others, please write to us at writers[at]e27[dot]sg