Hurricane Katrina: (Not) Learning From The Tsunami

Evelyn Rodriguez lived through the Dec. 26 tsunami and understands communication and info needs from the survivor side. Most of what we are doing now is essentially for family and friends. Tens of thousands of survivors have no online access although efforts are underway to provide it as widely as possible.

In an emergency, think: Cheap. Simple. Ubiquitous. 
Perhaps cellphone SMS messages that go directly to a central
wiki that is hosted by an large
easy-to-remember-even-if-I-never-imagined-I-would-be-in-a-major-disaster
organization whether it is Red Cross or Google?

What would have been helpful in the tsunami was a central phone
number everyone has memorized to call in case of emergencies. I don’t
know if they have 911 in other countries. After the tsunami, people
(those on boats, and high ground) still had cellphones. But no one knew
who to call.

These were lessons that should have been learned from the tsunami and before that from 9/11 and other times of crisis. We can’t change the events of the last week but if we do not learn from them and change the future, shame on us.

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