If you’re reading this, it means you have an internet connection and at least some power. If you live on the Easy Coast, particularly in New York or New Jersey, you’re one of the lucky ones. Hurricane Sandy arrived with a fury on Sunday night, flooding entire cities, causing over 15 fatalities, and causing billions of dollars in damage.
While the worst of the storm might be behind us, it’s not over yet. In decades past, a storm like Sandy could devastate communities, leaving millions without power, information, or a way out. Technology, especially the mobile kind, has revolutionized the way we prepare for and deal with natural disasters. Below are three important ways that technology will help the East Coast recover from Hurricane Sandy, largely because of the compassion of people like you and me.
1. Eye In The Sky (and on the ground)
Mobile technologies enable average citizens to document storms as they develop on the ground–in many cases faster than mainstream media can keep up. Sure, there are going to be cheaters who try to capitalize on the hype, but the internet has a way of outing the photoshoppers in short order. Several websites have also set up pages where people can upload their own stories and pictures about life after the storm.
2. The More You Know…
Just as important as keeping people informed about what’s going on outside is the need to advise them about what they should be doing inside. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate tweeted about the storm periodically for about a week, providing more than 30,000 people with tips and links to help them sift through all the news about Sandy. FEMA’s apps for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices provide weather information, including a page on what to do during and after a hurricane. Google created an interactive Hurricane Sandy Crisis map that allows them to track the storm and find information on affected areas, evacuation zones, evacuation centers and Red Cross emergency shelters. The map was recently updated to include power outage information as well.
3. Instant Assistance
There were times when it took days, maybe even weeks, to get vital supplies into the hands of rescue teams and survivors. Now, doing your part to support recovery efforts just takes the click of a button. You can even text donations to front-line organizations like the Red Cross. Teams of volunteers can be assembled almost as easily, with online tools making it simple to assign tasks and monitor progress. If you’d like to let your fingers do the helping, check out MNN’s handy list of worthy organizations.