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Citizen Engagement

Filipinos collaborate online in flood evacuation efforts

In September 2009, Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) hit the Philippines, causing the worst flooding in more than 40 years in Metro Manila.

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Damages were estimated to be at $1.09 billion and about 747 fatalities were recorded.

Now, three years later, the torrential rains that has been pounding Metro Manila and its nearby provinces since yesterday is now dubbed as “Ondoy 2”, as the capital city now finds itself again submerged in chest-deep flood waters and many citizens stranded on the 2nd floor or the roof of their houses.

With the crisis far from over, a group of twitter users proactively created a Googledoc spread sheet to help first responders facilitate evacuation efforts.

The Googledoc “#rescuePH ” allows users to report people who are in need of immediate evacuation or assistance.

The document includes the following information: Timestamp (which indicates the time when the entry was made), address of persons who need to be evacuated, status of the rescue alert, contact information and the exact twitter message. In addition, the spreadsheet also contains emergency hotlines of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

New entries are marked red, and users who input information are requested to update the status column to green when people are rescued. To date there are 250 entries.

This initiative stems from the concept of turning crowdsourced data into actionable information. Through this initiative, first responders would be able to streamline their efforts in order to help victims get needed aid as soon as possible.

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