Following a natural disaster, it is not unusual for the international community to step in and provide help to those affected by crisis, but when the earthquake in Haiti occurred in 2010, the humanitarian response was different: new media and communications technologies were used in unprecedented ways to aid the recovery effort. In the weeks after the crisis, Haiti quickly became a real world laboratory for several new applications, such as ineractive online mapping and SMS texting platforms.
This report examines the media and communications response to the earthquake, highlights what emerging practices showed promise, and provides a series of lessons learned and recommendations for improving the effective utilization of media in disaster relief efforts.
The report found that although traditional humanitarian organisations were open to using new technologies, they remained nervous about the implications of information and power-sharing through crowd-sourcing and other new media platforms. It also found that, despite the prominence of new technology, radio remained the most effective way of serving the public. The report recommends that in future crisis situations, the use of new technologies requires greater coordination.