Dear SBTF members, mappers
to our great great sadness we discovered last night that Eliana Zemmer, a wonderful person and incredibly dedicated crisis mapper had died recently in hospital, after a sudden illness. She was only 39.
Many of us have extremely fond memories of working on deployments with Eliana and a few of us who had known her through her online engagement wrote the following – to try and convey something of what we knew of her and how much we appreciated having got to know her even a little bit.
Eliana was a crisismapper with the Standby Task Force. Everyone who worked alongside her knew Eliana as a consummate mapper – someone who put in her heart and soul, and was always there for the rest of us, helping, learning and supporting. What only a few of us knew ‘til recently was that she was quietly generous too, helping other mappers in need even though she didn’t have many resources herself. Eliana worked on the Libya Crisis Map, Hurricane Irene Recovery Map and Somalia deployment, then coordinated the SBTF Reports Team for the Colombian Floods. A tireless volunteer and coordinator, the Libya deployment was a typical example of her work: she translated between multiple languages including French, Italian, Spanish, German and Portuguese, and was always available and keeping an eye on all the deployment volunteers.
Simply put, Eliana was a rock – patient, utterly dependable, an oasis of common sense when so many around her were losing perspective and over-reacting to the often admittedly terrible events we were covering – rare and priceless qualities. When things were especially stressful we could often release the tension by having little wry conversations in German on the side – where her gentle humour came to the fore. Eliana offered to assist info4disasters.org with first aid and other translations. She felt deeply about the importance of global healthcare. Not only did she advocate for medical needs that came to her attention, she assisted personally whenever and wherever she could. In her “spare” time, Eliana was active in developing a ready-to-post collection of “tweets” in Italian for any disaster or first aid need.
Between deployments, Eliana regularly welcomed newcomers into the SBTF chatroom, posted in multiple languages, made little parties in the Skype chat-rooms and used the squirrel symbol. A lot. Eliana was one of us, and will be missed by us all.
Meanwhile, we’d like to remember Eliana in actions as well as words, so here’s a suggestion for each of us: find a mapper that you haven’t spoken to for a while (or ever), friend them on Facebook, Skype or GooglePlus and say “hi – how are you”?
A translation of Eliana’s German obituary and links to her pages are below.
And forever somewhere in the world … are traces of your life. With a sad heart we are saying goodbye to our beloved Eliana, 4th October 1973 † 5th December 2012, who after a short difficult illness passed away peacefully in the Lord. We will accompany our beloved Eliana today, Friday 7 December, at 14.30, starting from the cemetery chapel, then on to the funeral service in the parish church of Seis followed by our final farewell in the local cemetery.
Seis, 5 December 2012.
We will never forget you: your son Saber, your parents Francis and Tamara, your brother Dimitri, your godmother Waltraud and on behalf of all the other relatives and acquaintances, we would like to thank the physicians and nurses from Bozen Hospital for the loving care.
“Und immer irgendwo… sind Spuren deines Lebens. Mit traurigem Herzen nehmen wir Abschied von unserer lieben Eliana Zemmer 4. 10. 1973 † 5. 12. 2012. Die nach kurzer schwerer Krankheit friedlich im Herrn entschlafen ist. Wir begleiten unsere liebe Eliana heute, Freitag, den 7. Dezember, um 14.30 Uhr von der Friedhofskapelle ausgehend, zur Trauerfeier in die Pfarrkirche von Seis mit anschließender Verabschiedung im Ortsfriedhof. Seis, den 5. Dezember 2012
Wir werden dich nie vergessen: dein Sohn Saber, deine Eltern Franz und Tamara, dein Bruder Dimitri, deine Patin Waltraud, und im Namen aller übrigen Verwandten und Bekannten.
Danken möchten wir den behandelnden Ärzten und dem Pflegepersonal vom Krankenhaus Bozen für die liebevolle Betreuung.”
from the SBTF