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Call for Apps Supporting Disaster Relief & Development

Call for Apps Supporting Disaster Relief & Development

Following a fire in Fort McMurray, Canada which affected tens of thousands of residents, researchers from the University of Calgary conducted a study on the social media response of the citizens to the disaster. Their findings shed light on what affected persons feel they need out of an emergency mobile application. Four of the “top ten most desired features” identified by the researchers include the ability to send emergency text messages, request for resources, call for ambulance at a tap, and to easily view safety guidelines.

There are several apps already available which can individually satisfy the above in an emergency/disaster situation. For example, the Help App for Disaster Relief can be used to request and provide resources while the Requirement Phone app has the function of categorizing the necessities required by affected populations. The Red Panic Button is able to send out text messages to notify pre-set contacts that the user is presently in an emergency situation. An ambulance, as well as the police and firefighters, can be summoned at the tap of a button using SirenGPS. And the award-winning British Red Cross Emergency App offers the user multiple valuable functions in an emergency situation, including safety guidelines. For those in the U.S., the American Red Cross has an assortment of mobile apps available for those seeking information about anything from first aid procedures to disaster monitoring.

Mobile and online applications can also play a larger role than assisting the witnesses and victims. Apps such as First Responder Support Tools provide map-based incident data to support first response. It has been used successfully by first responders and emergency managers in various occupations, including fire departments and EMTs. Additionally, mobile technology can facilitate donation from those not in the position to help directly. Apps such as One Relief use a streamlined approach which makes it simple for anyone to donate to a humanitarian cause.

The Aid and International Development Forum is once again on the lookout for mobile applications that support disaster response and global development. Nominate your app to be showcased at the Planet of the Apps on 6-7 of September during the 9th annual Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit in Washington D.C., which gathers senior representatives and advisors from UN and government agencies, international and regional NGOs, investors, donors, the private sector and media.

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Background: Launched in September 2016 at the Global Disaster Relief Summit 2016 in Washington D.C., ​Planet of the Apps presented some of the latest mobile applications supporting humanitarian programmes and disaster relief operations across the world. The shortlisted apps were Share The Meal, ETC Reporter, mVAM, ReliefWeb Videos, ReliefWeb Headlines, MyTrac™ and Refugee Aid App (RefAid). Read more or see [Planet of the Apps - Photo Gallery].

In February 2017, the Planet of the Apps took place during the Aid & Development Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The apps included ReliefWeb apps (Crisis, Headlines & Jobs), AidHedge, ConviFarm, Agribusiness TV, E-ukulima, Share The Meal and ETC Reporter. Big thanks to Huawei Mobile Kenya for providing the devices. See [Planet of the Apps - Photo Gallery].