A whole series of digital initiatives have played a vital role in the response efforts so far. The response is phenomenal ... people are volunteering their time and skills to help in any way they can. But a real question needs to be asked?
Do these efforts focusing on technology actually help those impacted by the disaster?
It's important to ponder those questions. Actual concrete on-the-ground stuff has to happen ... starting with rebuilding some kind of infrastructure:
Someone who I respect greatly, Patrick Meier, believes digital volunteers ARE making a difference. To me, three key criteria need to be met for digital volunteer efforts to be more than just "feel good" endeavours:
- is the data produced supporting efficient decision-making and the strategic allocation of disaster relief and goods?
- are digital efforts helping the people on the ground? By helping them to find missing relatives or friends for example, or by providing amplification of emergency information (information as aid) ?
- Is the information/data valid? A crucial point to convince authorities and emergency managers to get on the SMEM/SCEM wagon. Are crisis maps accurate?