Information technology opens new routes for emergency disaster relief – UN report

The vital role of new information technology in responding rapidly to sudden onset emergencies is highlighted in a new United Nations study released today, identifying best practice and lessons learned from last year’s devastating Haitian earthquake.

The study, Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies, launched at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference 2011, analyzes how the humanitarian and emerging volunteer and technical communities collaborated in the aftermath of the Haitian quake that killed more than 200,000 people and made 1.3 million more homeless, and recommends ways to improve coordination in future emergencies.

The report spells out how hundreds of geo-spatial information systems experts used fresh satellite imagery to rebuild missing maps of Haiti and plot a picture of the changed reality on the ground, an essential elements that provided much of the street-level mapping data used for logistics and camp management.

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