Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:14am EST
PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI, Jan 17 - The Thomson Reuters Foundation
has today launched a first-of-its kind, free disaster-
information service for the people of Haiti. The service
allows survivors of Haiti's earthquake to receive critical
information by text message directly to their phones, free of
WORLD | NATURAL DISASTERS
To register, survivors subscribing to the Digicell network,
the largest in the Caribbean, simply text their location to
the SMS shortcode 4636. By return, up-to-date, reliable,
actionable information will be sent to them wherever they are
in Haiti, helping them to reach shelter, aid and loved ones.
The service will cost them nothing.
The service also acts as a news and information gathering
mechanism, whereby survivors can report information directly
into the EIS team of specialist journalists. The EIS team will
collate this information and it will be made available to
agencies, emergency teams and local media.
People outside of Haiti and the quake zone can register their
loved ones' cell phone numbers on their behalf.
TO REGISTER FOR THE SERVICE
- If inside Haiti: text your location to 4636 directly from
your own phone
- If inside Haiti and registering someone else's phone number:
send a text with REGISTER or REGISTRE and the loved ones'
number and location, to 4636
- If overseas: text REGISTER or REGISTRE and the loved ones'
local Haiti number, and location to +4673 749 4535
- Note: The SMS shortcode is dependent on local telecom
infrastructure; if the infrastructure fails, the local SMS
service will not work
The EIS also aims to get critical information to survivors via
local media, especially radio, and the Thomson Reuters
Foundation already has a team of expert humanitarian
journalists in Haiti working around the clock to collect and
Working with technology partner InSTEDD and aid agencies
including the Red Cross, the Thomson Reuters Foundation aims
to help Haitians with practical information to help them take
control of their own recovery.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO, Monique Villa, said this
morning, "In times of major natural catastrophes, information
itself is aid, as crucial as shelter or blankets. All forms of
communication in Haiti have been impaired and the EIS team
will help fill the communication void providing reliable,
actionable information to the disaster affected population.
"We only launched our new service in December on the fifth
anniversary of the Asian Tsunami and whilst you never want or
anticipate significant natural disasters, I am pleased that
our service is now up and running so that we can come to the
aid of the people of Haiti."
For more Haiti coverage from the Foundation's AlertNet
service, click www.alertnet.org/.