Volunteers from across the globe are working online to support the humanitarian response in Vanuatu. Vanuatu was hit by the category 5 storm Pam on Friday 13 March.
The Standby Task Force, a network of volunteer “crisis-mappers” has started work at the request of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). They will be searching for tweets about the storm, identifying pictures and videos of damage and flooding and passing this information through UN OCHA to responders on the ground. They are also collating a resource to help responding agencies better understand the situation and work more effectively with each other on the ground.
Initially the group intends to be working until Friday 20 March but this will be reviewed as the situation on the ground and online becomes clearer.
Jus MacKinnon is president of the Standby Task Force and is leading the Vanuatu deployment.
“Responders are looking at a very complex situation on the ground in Vanuatu. The Standby Task Force aims to support the humanitarian response by improving their understanding of the situation. We use widely used tools like Skype and Google Drive as well as more specialised mapping and data processing systems.”
“We rely on the hard work and commitment of people across the world who donate their time and their skills to help support humanitarian action. They have already responded really enthusiastically to the call for assistance for Vanuatu.”
The Standby Task Force was created in 2010 and brings together hundreds of digital humanitarians from over 80 countries.