A recent study has shown that mobile phones can be of great assistance in targeting areas where humanitarian aid can be put to the most use following a national disaster. It is in such times that the best mobile phones and smart phones can be most useful to mankind generally.

It is accepted that mobile phones and smart phones are a great social tool as mobile access to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has proven. They have even proved to be useful in times of civic uprisings in the Middle East and, unfortunately, used to great success in assisting rioters to organise hit and run raids in Britain recently by allowing the utmost damage to be done by rioters keeping one step in front of authorities. But it is in the area of targeting where to deliver the most effective aid following natural disasters that the best mobile phone applications can be experienced.

Mobile Phones Help Aid Workers

The report of mobile phone usage in disaster areas focused on its benefits in targeting where emergency aid could be most usefully applied. It highlighted how scientists mapped the different movements of population in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. This data became immediately available to them after accessing information from more than two million mobile phones used by the Haitian people who found themselves homeless and displaced. As a result humanitarian aid distribution was immediately channelled where it was most needed.

Phone Data Used to Map Areas of Need

Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute working with the Columbia University in the US requested Digicel, Haiti’s largest mobile phone network, to release anonymous information regarding data usage from phone towers following the earthquake. This information was required so that the location of people could be pinpointed more precisely after an estimated 600,000 people fled the destruction of the city of Port au Prince. This information was then used to map where most people were seeking shelter. Much needed supplies were then sent to them.

Cholera Outbreak Restricted

Later that same year, when a cholera outbreak occurred, researchers were once again able to respond quickly by using the same method that was successful following the earthquake. Dr Linus Bengtsson of the Swedish institute reported that within 12 hours they were able to isolate areas of the outbreak by using mobile phone data therefore preventing the outbreak spreading. He said the model they used could be repeated anywhere in the world as 86 percent of the world’s population now have mobile phone coverage.

This article was written by Justin from Life Insurance Finder. 

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Sanil S Founding member of MobMe Wireless Pvt Ltd, Ayruz Web Holdings

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