Journal article

Improved response to disasters and outbreaks by tracking population movements with mobile phone network data: A post-earthquake geospatial study in Haiti

5 Sep 2011

Disasters and outberaks scatter populations, compromising timely assistance.  Using mobile technology to track the location of moving populations can help in providing speedier and much needed help. Every year, millions of people are affected by disasters—sudden calamitous events that disrupt communities and cause major human, material, economic, and environmental losses. Disasters can be natural (for example, earthquakes and infectious disease outbreaks) or man-made (for example, terrorist attacks and industrial accidents). Whenever a disaster strikes, governments, international bodies, and humanitarian agencies swing into action to help the affected population by providing food, water, shelter, and medical assistance. Within days of the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, for instance, many governments pledged large sums of money to help the Haitians, and humanitarian agencies such as Oxfam and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies sent tons of food and hundreds of personnel into the country. And when a cholera outbreak began in Haiti in October 2010, the world responded by sending further assistance. Authors:  Linus Bengtsson, Xin Lu, Anna Thorson, Richard Garfield, Johan von Schreeb

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