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IBM Custom Grant Aids Disaster Preparedness and Response in China

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WCSAF_logohen it comes to disaster response, every second counts and ready access to accurate information is essential. Typically, the window for post-disaster rescue closes after 72 hours. That’s why the China Social Assistance Foundation (CSAF) teamed with other NGOs and IBM to define and build the China Disaster Response Support Information Platform. An IBM Custom Grant enabled us to establish procedural and technical protocols that would enable agile responses in emergency situations.

The partners needed the disaster response platform to aggregate massive amounts of data, create a map of a disaster, and be able to provide relief staff with comprehensive information about personnel, materiel, support funds, traffic and safety conditions, shelters and the availability of health service workers – all within minutes. IBM took the lead in clarifying the vision and defining the scope and requirements for the project. Instead of being purely reactive, IBM capitalized on advanced technologies to build pre-disaster capacity and help ensure proactive disaster relief capabilities – including the effective collaboration among government and NGO entities.

During the course of the project, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Yunnan Province. We were able to coordinate disaster response efforts right away with help from the IBM team, which accelerated development and implementation of the system. It became clear during this period that there is more to disaster relief – or to any form of large-scale service – than simply providing relief funding. IBM’s contribution of technology and expertise was critical to driving the innovative thinking and inter-organizational cooperation required to address the Yunnan crisis.

IBM contributed nearly 3,500 hours of skills-based expertise to the disaster response platform project, including helping to build key functions related to the online implementation of the platform. Mobile access to platform information and functionality
also was essential, and IBM was a key player in that aspect of the program’s design
and implementation.

We had a rewarding experience working with IBM and our other partners to establish disaster preparedness and response methods to serve our citizens. We were particularly impressed with IBM’s agility when the Yunnan earthquake occurred in the middle of our project development period. And we came away from the project with a new appreciation for an integrated approach to development that engages partners from various industry sectors in service to common goals that none could achieve alone.

Guanghua Hu is General Secretary of the China Social Assistance Foundation.

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2013年11月,中华社会救助基金会与中国民间公益组织在灾难救助领域开展跨界合作,IBM通过先期捐赠项目帮助中华社会救助基金会“中国民间灾难应对信息平台”项目确认愿景、明确需求和实施范围,目标在于主动地开展灾前能力建设,通过科技手段提高灾害响应能力和增强NGO在灾难响应中的有效协作。

2014年8月起,IBM作为科技救灾合作伙伴,通过历时五个月的服务捐赠项目投入近3500人小时,实施可视化社会大数据解决方案及移动应用,支持中华社会救助基金会 “中国民间灾难应对信息平台”的功能开发和实施上线,协助搭建了一个为整合救灾信息资源、增进信息透明完整、便利多方协调互动、提高救灾响应效率而生的科技救灾平台。

对于救灾工作每一秒时间都非常宝贵,但信息不能及时准确的传输和呈现,导致救灾信息的真空和混乱,一直是救灾工作的极大阻碍,而中国民间灾难应对信息平台正是致力于解决以上问题。灾难发生后的72小时是救援的黄金时间,灾难应对信息平台可以支持政府和民间专业救灾组织5分钟内创建一张灾难发生地的灾情和需求信息地图,满足前后方对于灾区人员、资金、物资、交通、医疗、安全、安置点等全面信息的需要。

“中国民间灾难应对信息平台”助力打造手机端功能,可以将志愿者和专家集中并合理调配, 救援团队也可以通过手机端申领任务,使得救灾工作有序进行。手机端还可以实现消息管理,将灾情重大信息第一时间推送给灾区用户。

项目期间发生了云南鲁甸地震,在中华社会救助基金会工作人员第一时间赶到受灾现场,带回紧急需求后,IBM项目团队全面配合,按实际场景匹配新需求,实现按需开发。救灾的时候出钱出力是救灾,出智慧,出脑力,出科技更是救灾。IBM专长服务社会, 协作创新的方式使我们各方可以更好地跨界合作,实践主动救灾策略。

Related Resources:

Corporate Citizenship Benefits Society, Enterprises and Their Employees

Applying Technology and Expertise to Global Societal Problems

IBM in China: Reaching Young Learners with IBM KidSmart

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