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
14 Apr 2015
The growing availability and use of social media and other mass collaboration technologies present new opportunities and challenges for disaster management. Platforms now exist that permit collection of data from broad constituencies and rapid commun...
Tags: Research, Crisis Mapping, Crowdsourcing, Mobile Technology
Research
03 Aug 2015
Exerpt from Executive Summary:   Tourism is one of the most economically important sets of industries worldwide, yet the industry is also one of the most highly exposed to disasters due to its reliance on interrelated industries and location in man...
Tags: Research, Business Continuity Program, Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience, Urban Planning, Urban Risk Reduction
Case Study, Report, Research
02 Dec 2015
 The Social Cohesion project – an action-research project commissioned by World Vision, explores the causes and consequences of tensions between refugees and host communities to propose better short and longer term solutions for humanitarian and d...
Tags: Case Study, Report, Research, Community Risk Assessment, Urban Planning