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Nepal quake: Leveraging ICTs for disaster management

12 May 2015

Naina Gautam/OneWorld South Asia

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Social networking websites have launched innovative tools for connecting people affected by the deadly quake in Nepal.

New Delhi/Kathmandu: Technology connects with your near and dear ones not only in the usual times but also during calamities. This was more than evident when social websites like the Facebook, Google, and Whatsapp came forward for reconnecting and providing succour to the quake affected people of Nepal.

The world’s biggest internet search engine Google launched its Person Finder tool while another giant Facebook introduced a new tool called the ‘Safety Check’.

Google’s Person Finder helps people to not just post valuable information about the whereabouts of a missing person but also disseminate the information to a large number of people.

The Facebook tool provides a platform for an individual to update others about the person’s vulnerability and this update is then published as a notification on their friends’ Facebook account. Popular cross-messaging application, WhatsApp, has also created a messaging group for Nepal earthquake victims.

Additionally, Facebook has also come up with the facility of a Donation Button for helping out relief work in Nepal. The tab is located on the top right and is visible to members once they log into the website.

Non-Governmental organisations can also enable Person Finder on their respective websites. The importance of social networking websites, could be gauged from the fact when news reports said that the Nepalese Premier came to know about the devastating earthquake through a tweet by Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister.

Along with the technical giants, telecom companies such as Airtel, MTNL, BSNL have announced free calls to and from Nepal, thus helping in smooth connectivity to subscriber during unfavourable times.

Apart from the social networking websites, e-commerce platforms such as, online wallet provider Paytm, on demand cab and auto rickshaw provider Ola and mobile recharge app FreeCharge have started similar initiatives for collecting funds for the relief efforts in the quake hit nation.

Radhika Aggarwal, Co- Founder and chief business officer, Shopclues, said, “With our initiative, we want to give our customers the chance to feel better about having made a contribution. To make a greater difference, we will be matching each donation for the benefit of those who have suffered immense losses due to the natural calamity.”

The technology based platforms not just helped common people but also alerted the government machinery by providing varied information from the quake hit spots.

Even individuals have come forward and created pages on websites like Facebook for raising funds and awareness.

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