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Haiti earthquake tests Crisis Commons' disaster response

Haiti earthquake tests Crisis Commons’ disaster response

Another project is Crisis Commons’ hospital-capacity finder, where volunteers keep track of available hospital beds versus the level of need in the area. Many Crisis Camp volunteers have teamed up to help unify the numerous missing-persons lists that have sprung up in the wake of the earthquake.

The projects are endless, and the BarCamp format is an excellent platform for delivering immediate, spur-of-the-moment assistance. “An NGO in Haiti told us their long-distance Wi-Fi wasn't working because the drivers weren't connecting with their equipment,” Dickover says. “He said he needed people to write drivers so they could get long-distance Wi-Fi to 30 kilometers. Well, guess what? By the end of the day, the driver was written and it was ready to be tested on the hardware.”

Getting Involved

Most people think the best way to help in a crisis is to send money, but they actually want to participate, Dickover says. “The folks participating in this have realized the average person at home can make a difference in the situational awareness and effectiveness of the NGOs on the ground. You personally can improve crisis response.”

To see how your skills can benefit the response, log onto the Crisis Common Web site and look for a project that requires your training and abilities. You can attend a Crisis Camp in your area, or log on from home and get straight to work. “We’ve got a page full of simple things anyone can do,” Dickover says. “Our job is to figure out ways that, whatever your skill set, you can come in and aid in the crisis. An organization tells us it has a need, and we send out the Bat Signal and see who comes.”

Jamie Swedberg is a freelance business and technology writer based in Athens, Ga.



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Help From Afar

Haiti earthquake tests Crisis Commons' disaster response

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