From the dome, well, i just left, but basically fresh from it: yahoo did make a tool that sucks in and makes searchable all the ICRC data, and data from many other sources. The computer center and access to information was and is important. After food, water, and hygiene, people needed information, which was in very short supply. (Food, clothing, shelter, and water, and medical care, all were there in force. Hygiene was rocky, but not truly awful.) You know what/ I never saw so much as a newspaper in that place all last week. I don’t think a single one. Just so you know that residents of the dome were using the technology… a lot of them… right there on the ground, desperately.
I believe the technology & information divide is contributing badly to widening class divisions in this country and globally. For example if people had internet addresses they would have been out of the dome even more quickly. Because they wouldn’t have lost contact with family, friends, community.
There is another issue to be aware of that confuses a lot of people, even/especially people in the Red Cross, which is that they have their public database, but also their very confidential one. So, quite a lot of residents in the dome thought they were “registered”, but that was the RC intake, which they consider confidential, and which we did not have access to. At first I was angry with this, but now I get it that they are international, there are political refugee issues, there are medical privacy issues, domestic violence especially (which we did see happen), child custody, etc. So when someone relatively high up in the RC told me “even the fact that a person is here in the dome or came here is confidential information” I laughed bitterly and disagreed, but now I am not so sure of that. Or, at least I understand where they’re coming from. IMHO still the benefit outweighs the risk to some. Or included in intake, put a “keep this private, i do not want to be found” flag. I share your belief the RC tech people know a lot, but they do need to listen to and use the geeks who are not in their command structure. I think they are doing that right now and working hard…. it is not smooth or perfect but it is happening.
blah blah blah! Sorry for the overcomment, I’m a little bit tweaked and this is the first trackback i followed.
– Liz