American Red Cross disaster relief has taken on many forms since our inception in 1881, when Clara Barton dispatched two men to help distribute relief goods and cash for victims of a Michigan forest fire.
Fast forward more than 130 years, and we’re still using whatever means necessary to provide support and relief to disaster victims, sometimes even to disasters across the globe. We have been thrilled to see a couple news outlets take notice, covering the innovative ways our staff is using technology to assist in a disaster.
The Washington Post, in “How a bunch of tech geeks helped save Nepal’s earthquake victims,” included the work of two volunteers frequent Red Cross Chat readers know well: Glen and Judy Bradley. The Bradleys are phenomenal volunteers who help set up telecommunications systems to open up desperately-needed digital channels following a major disaster.
The Post notes:
“Advancements in technology have also helped humanitarian organizations use their people more efficiently. With a satellite connection, doctors who can’t physically get to a disaster site can talk directly to patients, or analyze their X-rays, or review blood test results remotely. The result is a significant boost to the quality of care.”
Our own Dale Kunce and Jenelle Eli were included in a recent piece in The New Yorker, “Creating a Map to Navigate the Post-Earthquake Landscape in Ecuador.” To get a better sense of damage following a disaster such as an earthquake, relief organizations use crowdsourced maps created by efforts like the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.
We’ve already shared other inspiring technology ideas about disaster prevention and recovery, from wearable technology to smart fire sensors. We also look forward to highlighting future innovations in humanitarian aid.
If you’ve come across exciting examples of disaster technology, please share with us in a comment below!