Integrating Social Media Communications into the Rapid Assessment of Sudden Onset Disasters

Recent research on automatic analysis of social media data during disasters has given insight into how to provide valuable and timely information to formal response agencies—and members of the public—in these safety-critical situations. For the most part, this work has followed a bottom-up approach in which data are analyzed first, and the target audience’s needs are addressed later. Here, we adopt a top-down approach in which the starting point are information needs. We focus on the aid agency tasked with coordinating humanitarian response within the United Nations: OCHA, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. When disasters occur, OCHA must quickly make decisions based on the most complete picture of the situation they can obtain. They are responsible for organizing search and rescue operations, emergency food assistance, and similar tasks. Given that complete knowledge of any disaster event is not possible, they gather information from myriad available sources, including social media. In this paper, we examine the rapid assessment procedures used by OCHA, and explain how they executed these procedures during the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda. In addition, we interview a small sample of OCHA employees, focusing on their uses and views of social media data. In addition, we show how state-of-the-art social media processing methods can be used to produce information in a format that takes into account what large international humanitarian organizations require to meet their constantly evolving needs. 

Qatar Computing Research Institute, Doha, Qatar

Integrating Social Media Communications into the Rapid Assessment of Sudden Onset Disasters
http://chato.cl/papers/vieweg_castillo_imran_2014_integrating_un_ocha_rapid_social_media_emergencies.pdf

Are you sure you want to delete this "resource"?
This item will be deleted immediately. You cannot undo this action.

Related Resources

Research
30 Nov 2016
A five year study that Australian Red Cross has been partnering in, with the University of Melbourne, has been finalised. The study examined the long term effects of health effects of the impacts of the bushfires,a nd had over 1000 participants Five...
Tags: Research, Recovery, Resilience
Research
29 Apr 2015
Based on research by a team of Nepalese and international experts, this report carries out an analysis of five key elements related to urban housing and settlement – land, basic services, housing finance, building materials and construction tec...
Tags: Research
Assessment or evaluation, Research
05 Feb 2018
This report presents the results of an assessment of the psychosocial and mental health status and needs of communities in Rasuwa, Nuwakot, and Makwanpur districts of Nepal. The assessment took place between November 2016 and January 2017, approximat...
Tags: Assessment or evaluation, Research, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support