The use of technology in humanitarian action

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Thursday launched its Disasters Report 2013 at the Nailab showcasing how the use of technology can help in humanitarian action worldwide.

Themed “Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Action”, the World Disasters Report 2013 looks at the various technologies used in humanitarian works, new technological threats, technology and humanitarian principles and the effectiveness of technology and innovation.

Some of the highlighted technologies during the launch included the American Red Cross Digital Operations Center (DigiDOC) which tracks social media posts from disaster-affected areas for mapping and response, IFRC’s Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA), an SMS text system designed for two way communication and used for Early Warning/Early Action. Other technology solutions showcased included American Red Cross Society’s Rapid Beneficiary System that manages cash transfers and relief distribution and Kenya Red Cross Society’s use of social media in emergency response among others.

According to Susan Onyango, the communications head at The IFRC, “We want to use the World Disasters Report 2013 as a tool to engage with governments, private sector, humanitarian community, civil society and media, to advocate for innovative policies, increased investments and vibrant partnerships on technology. The responsible use of technology offers concrete ways to make humanitarian assistance more effective, efficient and accountable and can in turn, directly reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience.”

Informed by the needs and vulnerabilities of the diverse communities in the community, IFRC seeks to use technology to save and protect lives, strengthen recovery from disasters and crises, enable healthy and safe living and promote social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace.

You can download the full report here