News release: Global volunteers prepare the way for international assistance to Nepal

Issued by Standby Task Force 2015 UTC April 25 2015. For immediate use.

Just hours after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, a network of humanitarians are working together to support the international response.

With significant property damage and hundreds of people feared dead, rescue and relief organisations are preparing to send staff, supplies and other assistance to the country. To help them, volunteers from the Standby Task Force are working online to map reports of damage and requests for assistance that have been shared online.

The team is also collating resources that will be useful to responders as they begin work in Nepal. Their database already includes links to maps, details about which agencies are responding and even contact information for staff travelling to Nepal.

Jus Mackinnon is President of the Standby Task Force she explained:

“We have a network of over 1400 people across the world who undertake regular training and volunteer to respond rapidly when a serious crisis occurs. We can really make a difference on the ground by giving relief and rescue organisations a good idea of which areas are affected in what way. This helps them to target their efforts more effectively and get help to the people who need it as quickly as possible.”

“Some of what we do is good, old-fashioned information gathering just with computers. We do use some very cutting edge technology as well. In particular we have been running an artificial intelligence system developed by QCRI since the first reports of the earthquake appeared. This sifts social media reports and means that we only need to focus on reports that are directly relevant.”

“I’m so proud of this network. Our volunteers worked on two separate deployments last month for Vanuatu but that hasn’t stopped them stepping forward to help the people of Nepal.”

Standby Task Force volunteers are working, online, alongside other digital humanitarian groups including the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team and Humanity Road.

For media enquiries please contact

Ben Proctor, Media Lead, ben@standbytaskforce.com skype:likeaword (timezone UTC+1)

or

Jus MacKinnon, President,  justine@standbytaskforce.com skype:fidget01 (timezone UTC+1)

or

Joyce Monsees, Volunteer Coordinator, joyce@standbytaskforce.com skype:joycemonsees  (timezone UTC-7)

 

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