Hurricane Rita Update
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While I'm happy to report that my cousin from Beaumont made it safely to Dallas, she's still waiting to learn the condition of her family's home, and it could be some days before they know for certain. I keep my fingers crossed. My other cousins noisily, but safely, waited out the storm amidst the tall pines of east Texas.
I'm also happy to report that IBM's offices in Houston, Clearlake/Space Park, and Corpus Christi are open today, that there were no injuries to IBMers as a result of Rita, and that we are asking our own employees to follow the staggered return plan as outlined by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Meanwhile, IBMers are helping out where they can. The IBM Crisis Response Team is on the ground in Baton Rouge and in close contact with Texas officials to provide assistance in the form of both services and technology. We are also hosting Web sites to help evacuees and the public locate missing family members, including the CNN Safe List. Please refer anyone you know who may be still looking for someone post Katrina or Rita to this resource and, if they don't have Web access, identify someone who can help them use this tool. As we've learned from both Katrina and Rita, often the most conspicuously absent commodity after these storms is reliable information.
To help folks conduct an even more comprehensive search, we also have teams working with the state of Louisiana to implement the "Entity Analytics Systems," which can help integrate different databases and make it possible to search a single, unduplicated, up-to-date list of missing persons so that friends and relatives can better locate one another.
Finally, we're working in the background to help hurricane refugees find employment through a new job post and search Web site, one which brings together the largest number of opportunities from the Web and targeted jobs developed by local chambers of commerce. We're doing this in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, local chambers in the Gulf Coast region, and not-for-profit groups.
If you know of other useful resources, from IBM or anywhere else, please feel free to comment and add the links to this post.