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Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Digital Volunteer Opportunities

As we watch the news and hear updates of the loss of life and destruction of property following Typhoon Haiyan, it’s good to know that there are ways we can use our library/disaster information specialist skills online to assist in the response. We have put together this list of opportunities for you to consider, but the National Library of Medicine does not endorse or recommend any of the organizations listed.

The Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) is a consortium of “Volunteer & Technical Communities” (V&TCs) that provide services such as monitoring of mainstream and social media, development of crisis maps for decision support, and time-sensitive web-based research. When a disaster strikes, agencies such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, governments, etc., activate the DHN, and provide them with a list of tasks they have determined need to be completed in order to assist responders.  To become involved in the network, a person joins a member organization, and works through that organization when the DHN is activated.  (See a list of members: )

The DHN was contacted by the United Nations Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the Philippines Red Cross to assist in providing information management support for Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Below are examples of ways some of the members in the DHN are deploying as a result of this activation. Some of the items listed include activities you can participate in now; others are included as descriptions of work being done by groups you might consider joining so you will be ready for future events.

***Humanity Road Volunteer ***

Humanity Road brings together disaster response workers to assist during events with tasks such as researching, collecting, maintaining and tweeting information and resources about first aid, hospitals, shelters and other critical needs before, during, and after a disaster. Humanity Road is responding to Typhoon Haiyan, but to be a virtual volunteer, you must first participate in a one hour online training session; check out the website for the dates and times of the upcoming online training sessions.  You will need Skype to participate in the online training.

The following two organizations focus on mapping tasks for this deployment:

***Stand-by Task Force:  ***

The Stand-by Task Force provides support for crowdsourcing, mapping, data scrambling and technology testing. You can apply at any time to join the task force, and will join a team that is given a specific set of tasks in response to a crisis.  The Task Force has been activated for the typhoon.

*Image Clicker

Log in with no experience necessary and categorize photos by level of damage. A note of warning that some of the images are disturbing is provided. ACTIVE NOW! As of this email, it is 86% completed.

*Tweet Clicker
Log in with no experience necessary and categorize Tweets into one of six headings. (as of this email, the task was 100% completed)

*Google Site with instructions on how to participate in a more formal way:

***Open Street Mapping ***
The Humanitarian Open Street Map Team has been activated to provide geographic base data in areas affected by the typhoon. They are supporting the active OpenStreet Map community in the Philippines to help update the base map for the affected zones so that relief workers and responders have access to the most accurate data.

*Read about their response efforts and how to get involved:

*Join the listserv to participate all year long and learn about deployments as they are activated

Submitted by Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, MSLIS
Health Sciences Librarian
Specialized Information Services Division
Disaster Information Management Research Center
6707 Democracy Blvd.  Suite 510
Bethesda, MD 20892-5467

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