In times of disasters and crisis situations, the importance of sending information as quickly as possible to the public so they can take action is crucial. A single delay may mean life or death for the people trapped in these situations.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recognizing this need, participated in the Google Crisis Response Workshop and Summit held on April 30 at SMX Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
DSWD Social Marketing Service Director Cezario Joel C. Espejo and Information and Communication Technology Management Service (ICTMS) Director Felino O. Castro V represented the Department in the workshop/summit providing a background on the systems employed by DSWD in responding to urgent communication needs in times of disasters.
In his opening message, Dir. Espejo stated, “In the midst of all the natural and man-made disasters which struck the Philippines in 2013, technology played an important role in the people’s collective response.”
“It was because of technology, primarily the Internet and social media outlets, that people were able to immediately come together and provide aid to the survivors of these calamities. In gathering supplies, calling for volunteers, collating a list of missing persons or spreading vital information, it was Twitter, Facebook, and hashtags that made all the difference,” Dir. Espejo explained.
“This is just one of the million examples that prove how potent a tool technology is in crisis response and citizen mobilization,” Dir. Espejo added.
On the other hand, Dir. Castro discussed the site manned by DSWD-ICTMS’s Disaster Augmentation Response Teams (DARTs) which visualizes the reports generated by the DSWD-Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Office (DROMIC) showing the population and location of provinces/municipalities/cities and how many are affected by the disaster.
Google Crisis Response is a project that makes critical information more accesible during natural disasters with teams working with government agencies, such as DSWD, non-government organizations (NGOs) and commercial organizations.