Natural Disaster Response in Haiti
August 27, 2021
On August 14 2021, Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.2 Earthquake, centered approximately 150km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Over 100,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of people have been injured or killed. It is the deadliest natural disaster thus far in 2021. A lack of coordinated response by the Haitian government, already in disarray following the assassination of the Haitian President the month before, in a country not yet fully recovered from the previous earthquake in 2010, means the United Nations, the U.S., and various international aid groups are having to organize and deliver aid themselves with limited government assistance.
How Does This Affect You?
When a national crisis occurs, governments and organizations must make timely, informed decisions. Whether it’s a natural disaster, public health crisis, or terrorist attack, intelligence teams need to know how and where a crisis is occurring, and how to allocate resources in response.
Online spaces are often the earliest sources of information to provide this context—for example, social media users often post public updates and images from the scene of a crisis. Aligning this data with other feeds can help provide a faster and more informed response.
How Can You Stay Secure?
Real-time social media data, combined with information gleaned from more traditional sources, can help emergency responders gain and maintain situational awareness, and assist with decision-making, planning, and resource allocation. During response efforts following natural disasters, government officials now utilize social media to share information and connect with citizens through all phases of a crisis.
- In a disaster response situation, an organization could use keyword searches and general monitoring to identify community needs.
- Social media tools can help Aid groups, agencies and organizations advise the public about available resources during an emergency.