The International Red Cross Launches SMS Service For Earthquake Victims In Nepal

May 13, 2015

The International Red Cross announced a partnership with Nepal Telecom to utilize one of the few technologies that did provide relief in the wake of the disaster: SMS text messaging. Because SMS is a relatively low-tech communication protocol, messages can be sent even over a weak connection, and because it's asynchronous, they can go out whenever a phone catches a scrap of signal. After the first earthquake in Nepal on April 25th, services like WhatsApp and Viber, both of which use very little bandwidth, turned out to be much more reliable than phone calls or emails as a way to verify that friends and loved ones were okay. The Red Cross's partnership with Nepal Telecom uses geotracking technology to send targeted text messages about flooding, landslides, and emergency supply updates to millions of Nepalese. In a press release, the Nepal Red Cross Society estimated the SMS system would reach 1.1 million users initially: http://www.fastcompany.com/3046219/the-red-cross-launches-sms-service-fo...

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