Emergency Communications in Haiti
Websites, social media and many news outlets are talking about the tragedy that occurred in Haiti on Tuesday, January 12. At least 72,000 people have been confirmed dead and nearly 500,000 Haitians have been rendered homeless by the earthquake that registered a magnitude of 7.0. With telecom unusable and some roads impassable, members of the government have been using motorcycle messengers to communicate with each other. 8 days after the quake, many families are still unable to get in touch with loved ones. How is communication getting through in this grief-stricken country? How can anyone request assistance without the equipment and infrastructure needed to send messages?Corporate and voluntary agencies are in Haiti right now to work on these communication issues. Read about it here. A striking social media/communications-related outcome of this catastrophe – the dollars of support generated by text messaging. The current total is over $10,000,000, which is an unprecedented amount of money collected using this medium, further solidifying the place that mobile communications have in the world economy. For those of you that are interesting in helping, check out a great article from Charity Navigator on the agencies that are involved.