November 15, 2013 | 0 comments

As Supertyphoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last week, the world has been kept in the loop with almost second-by-second updates of live tweets, images and videos of its impact. It’s another example of how social media are changing how we communicate, but now humanitarians are increasingly using this technology to transform the way we respond to disasters:

November 14, 2013 | 0 comments

NASA scientists have used satellite images to create detailed maps of the devastation in the Philippines from Super Typhoon Haiyan in order to help disaster relief efforts by recovery crews. Super Typhoon Haiyan — which struck the island nation on Nov. 8 — was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. produced the damage maps in order to depict the hardest hit regions of the country, NASA officials wrote in a news release. JPL's ARIA (Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis) team created the 24.9 by 31 mile (40 by 50 kilometers) map using data from the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation. The image shows the area near Tacloban City, where the storm made landfall:

November 14, 2013 | 0 comments

TIDES' John Crowley delivers a powerful opinion in the TIME magazine: In the Philippines, reports make it seem like it is deja vu all over again. We hear that aid is not being shipped or distributed fast enough, that organizations are having trouble coordinating, and that looting is rampant and turning deadly. If these memes seem familiar, it because they each appeared after Katrina and the earthquake response in Haiti. It makes us ask: why have domestic disaster responders and international humanitarians not fixed the system yet? What’s broken? Who’s to blame for the delays in aid delivery?

November 14, 2013 | 0 comments

The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters constitute a daunting challenge to modern society, which is characterized by a heavy infrastructure and increasing population density. Until now, coping with natural disasters has involved expensive state intervention and technology-aided approaches, but researchers believes that the past contains a wealth of unexploited resources which could also provide solutions to the problems communities face when dealing with need to cope with, and recover from, natural disasters:

November 13, 2013 | 0 comments

The Humanitarian Data Toolkit helps humanitarian responders collect information rapidly and accurately, even with limited internet and electricity access: