terremotos_movil

04.05.2015

Tech giants lend a hand to Nepal earthquake rescue efforts

Imagen | Kudomomo

“It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters”. With this phrase, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Safety Check, a tool that tells you if someone in your friend network was affected by the April earthquake in Nepal.

The disaster has already claimed more than 5,000 lives, and this number could increase, as thousands of people are still missing. Using the location indicated on someone’s timeline, the tool can detect if the user is in the area affected by the major disaster, and through a notification, asks if the person is safe. With just click of a button, you can inform your friends and family if you’re out of harm’s way or if you need help.

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The social network stated that since the service was activated on Saturday, April 25 throughout Nepal – as well as in areas of Bangladesh, India and Bhutan – millions of people were labeled as ‘safe’, and tens of millions were notified that someone they knew was out of danger.

Zuckerberg announced the availability of Safety Check in a message on Facebook, adding that “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe.”

Google takes advantage of  SMS technology to help during the catastrophe

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Facebook is not the only online entity that has taken action to help those affected by the earthquake. Google has also made a search engine available to users that shares and spreads information about missing persons. Person Finder lets you enter data about people who may be missing, with their name and surname, and these can later be used as search terms to help identify people when they are found.

The application allows anyone to upload and share information through the web, as well as to send an SMS to a phone number.  The latter is a very important feature considering the local economy and the development of mobile technology in the region.

In just four days, the search engine collected 6,700 pieces of information about those affected by the catastrophe, and cross searched this data with information provided by institutions and NGOs present in the area, as well as the media. The Person Finder project is part of Google Crisis Response program, a division of the company dedicated entirely to the development of search tools in case of disaster, accident or attack.

Twitter, Microsoft and other major tech companies also do their part to help those affected

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Imagen | Krish Dulal

Twitter has also joined in the relief efforts. From its official account in India, it offers information and contact numbers in order to provide information about those affected in the area. Viber, one of Whatsapp’s greatest rivals, offered its technology for two days, allowing free phones phone calls to Nepal, to both mobiles and landlines. Microsoft, too, joined in the efforts and provided free Skype calls in the area.

These technological giants have responded in the best way they know, by utilizing technology. Two thumbs up for all of them.