photo of a family being rescued when Humanity Road requested help for their community

When Silence Is A Cry For Help

Philippines

When is silence a cry for help? Sometimes the absence of information emerging in a disaster is a cry for help. Modern social media data mining tools have been advancing their capabilities in order to find the signal in the noise of social media. But sometimes, the very absence of noise is a cry for help. In a catastrophic disaster, just because a community has not asked for help does not mean they do not need help. Communications and power outages can severely impact the ability or capability of a community to ask for help.

Case Study #1

In 2013, after Super Typhoon Yolanda, also known as Typhoon Haiyan, Humanity Road monitored more than a million tweets which were auto filtered for potential high priority needs and after reviewing those; began searching on tweets to find specific locations that appeared to have no tweets at all but were in the path of the storm. What we found was astonishing. We relayed several communities to an official response team that had aerial search capabilities advising them that these locations might be under served based on what we were observing online. Based on those referrals 121 people were rescued and another 10,000 receive food and water. Read more about Operation Damayan.

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