FOSS Disaster Relief Projects Can Help in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 31, 2012

People in several states in the Eastern United States are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and there are many kinds of disaster relief efforts going on. At the same time, many event organizers are working overtime to ensure that some normalcy is preserved. As evidenced in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, technology--including open source technology--can help organize disaster relief efforts and coordinate people. Here are just a few examples of tools that can make a difference.

Open source technologies focused on disasters come in many flavors. For example, we've covered open source tools that are used to both predict earthquakes and deal with coordination efforts in their aftermath. And, in this post, Lisa covered Sahana, an open source web-based disaster relief management system that helps government and emergency workers deal with the aftermath of catastrophic events. It's flexible enough that relief workers at the local level can leverage it. 

In fact, The Sahana Software Foundation is already assisting the City of New York in its use of Sahana software to manage its response to Hurricane Sandy.  The City’s Office of Emergency Management has been relying on Sahana software for its shelter management and registration programs since 2007. In Lisa's writeup, she noted:

"Developed and maintained by FOSS community volunteers, big-name companies like IBM and Google also support Sahana. A number of modules are available that address various aspects of emergency management, including a missing person registry to help reunite loved ones, a database to organize and coordinate volunteer activity, an inventory management application to track and deploy resources, and more. Sahana also has methods in place designed to protect victim data and reduce the potential for data abuse."

Several technology companies are also providing advisory services on hosting web applications and platforms affected by Hurricane Sandy. Ospero is one of them, as noted here

Finally, Google also has an open source application called Person Finder that has been used in response to several national emergencies. Person Finder allows people to leverage centralized, simple web applications that aid emergency communications and connects people after emergencies.

Are you interested in more on FOSS applications that serve humanitarian causes? In this post, we explore several of them.