How To Be Part Of Disaster Response Without Being Sucked In

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Digital Humanitarian Disaster Response

Let's frame the issue: Willow worked on Disaster/humanitarian response with Aspiration starting in January. Response is paternalistic - we think we know what people want, but we don't. Solidarity not charity

Slow disaster (humanitarian crisis) vs. sudden onset (natural disaster)

People are usually fine - life expectancies are shorter Co-extensive: doesn't disrupt the existing system when a new one intercedes

FEMA: bring big trucks, not aware of communities' needs, vulnerability, humanity

Versus Occupy Sandy

  • Mike: Also important for reconstruction phase. Food & water is fine, but what about afterward?
  • How to be surge capacity, how to make use of surge capacity, A sudden surge of attention, needs, and offers
    • Surge in offers is matched appropriately with the surge in needs
    • Risk of being paternalistic
  • Margot: If you want to get involved, what are the resources available right now?
    • Humanitarian Open Street Map Tasker - aerial imagery
    • Microtaskers - a project of Standby Task Force
      • does data parsing
      • breaking out large projects into various levels of expertise/knowledge
      • Willow has some qualms about it because it's more top down (works with UN OSHA)
  • Be aware of needs and required skill sets/levels
    • Example: Inspection
  • Devon: will do an afternoon session on Occupy Sandy -> NYC Prepare
  • Architecture for Humanity: Open response - a site for people to go
  • Participatory Aid Marketplace - would be clearinghouse, log in and take a quiz or complete a profile and be matched up
  • - help people capture offers of aid, orgs can follow up when they are ready
  • Resilience Co-Lab
  • Generic matching platforms
    • short attention span, hasn't been done well yet
    • disaster hackathons
  • Mike: What you're really doing is building capacity for the next disaster (money or relationships), e.g. Red Cross
    • Mismatch between what orgs need (long-term) versus what fulfills people's needs/instincts
  • Damien: Occupy Sandy happened because Occupy had just preceeded it.
    • Successful because self-organized
    • Curious about digital vs. scouting/recon on the ground - translating the analog need-gathering into a digital platform
  • A couple of approaches:
    • Asynchronicity - can still be used when power goes out and phone has a charge
    • Data is going to be messy - have to be ok with that, deal with a margin of error
    • Not going to invest in tracking accuracy - lossiness in data, assume a 10% loss
    • A lot of disaster response: is keeping flows going - outflow of food/resources
  • Josh: A lot of digital reponse is ad-hoc
    • Reinvent wheel/start from scratch, nobody uses it
  • Sahana - O/S project - good start, needs work (usability help)
  • Response hackathons/crisis camps
  • Another approaching:
    • Larping (Live action role playing)
    • Science Fiction study into action - themes about surviving change - first three days after disaster event vs. first few weeks vs. 150 years later
  • Taking the Superman out of disaster response - replace it with
  • Fracking causes earthquake that breaks the bridges in NYC - people are stuck on islands, end up gathering in the park, people are getting different sets of information
    • Acted out 3 scenarios:
      1. Gathered resources - put them in Easter eggs and hid them around the park - gamified it
      2. Recipes -
      3. Random eggs - you get mugged or you find a bicycle
  • Group processing - found a big cache of apples - staged a fight with different proposed uses for apples, surprise ambush

Hackathon outcomes:

  1. Corporate co-opting of hackathon volunteers' ideas
  2. On-boarding/education
  3. Open source
  • App downloading limitations - can everyone connect to Apple App Store during a disaster
  • Know how to use low-tech solutions - walkie-talkies
  • Skill-share profiles
  • Helping orgs know what they can and should ask for
  • Figure out the actual need, know how to articulate them to other people
  • Ushahidi - software forms a way to collect info, just by installation - workflows
  • One of the big needs is on-the-ground knowledge
  • Who goes in there & who reports out
  • Book: A Paradise Built in Hell
    • about mutual aid and disaster response & how people's local response is somewhat linked to their amount of distrust of gov't
  • How do you actually collect the needs on the ground and broadcast them to people can help - communication of needs on the ground
  • Use the channels that people already use

Amazon wishlists

  • Just send cash - accept loss
  • Coming up with a template - regardless of what communication format, capture needs through a questionnaire
    • Then, a way to loop it back to people who can supply
    • Transparency report - based on front-line communities assessment
    • Codes of conduct for collaborative responses
  • Paper vs. digital?
    • Mesh networks are working pretty well
    • Local info doesn't need to be digitized - flyers, post-its are fine
    • Only need digitizing for shipping/logistics purposes
  • Conference call
  • There are preparedness card games, but not response card game yet!