7 June 2017

Africa: Facebook Launches Disaster Maps to Help Aid Workers Save Lives

London — Facebook on Wednesday launched disaster maps - an initiative aimed at helping humanitarian organisations save lives in emergencies.

"When there's a flood, earthquake, fire or other natural disaster, response organisations need accurate information quickly about where people are in order to save lives," founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook.

"When traditional communication channels like phone lines are down, it can take too much time to figure out where people need help."

The maps will reflect the movements and location of people before, during and after disasters to help aid agencies work out where they should deliver food, water and medical supplies.

Zuckerberg said the new maps would help build "safe communities, and we will keep doing more initiatives like this".

The company worked with the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Programme, among others, to identify what data would be most useful. They would all have immediate access to the new maps, with other agencies to follow.

Facebook said it would provide three types of maps:

- Location density maps will show people's location before, during and after a disaster.

- Movement maps will illustrate flight between neighbourhoods or cities over several hours.

- Safety check maps will show when users let their family and friends know they are out of harm's way.

 - Reporting by Magdalena Mis @magdalenamis1. Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths


Trouble in Paradise As Mauritius Tackles Corruption Scandal

The island of Mauritius seems to have it all. Pristine beaches, sunshine in abundance, and the best governance in… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.