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U.S. Military's Flood Relief Efforts Are Still Tech-Lite

9/9/2010 11:55:12 AM

Tags: Pakistan floods, civilian aid workers, U.S. military, Science and Technology, Wired, David Doody

Sohaib Khan Floodmaps

Though the U.S. military has helped immensely in the recovery efforts in Pakistan, with food delivery and rescue services, during the flooding in that country, Wired reports they are a bit behind in their use of tech tools used for disaster relief and aid missions:

The U.S. military’s efforts to assist the 17 million victims of the Pakistan flood are still pretty tech-lite. So a group of civilian aid workers, Pakistani and international, have home-brewed a series of social media apps to help coordinate relief work — everything from crisis Wikis to crowd-sourced maps to SMS calls for help.

These civilian aid workers include a scientist who has created a widget using Google Earth and Google Maps that monitors flooding and the destruction it causes, and a group of Pakistani technologists and American academics who started an SMS system where people can send messages about what they need and where they are.  While these “home-brewed” efforts seem to be gaining a community of users, the U.S. military’s own online effort, HARMOINEweb, does not.

[S]o far, HARMONIEweb doesn’t seem to be building a community. Its chat archive is empty, as is its documents folder. The video page contains, bizarrely, four short news segments from the pro-Putin news service Russia Today. Its Wiki presents Excel spreadsheets filled with stats from the Prime Minister’s office on aid that’s been delivered. Its “Knowledge Management Collaboration” section largely consists of photos of U.S. aid — and even the U.S. relief effort’s own icons. It’s hard to see how the material on HARMONIEweb helps plan future aid missions.

Source: Wired

Image from Sohaib Khan’s Floodmaps.



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