Where should you take shelter during a cyclone? There’s a map for that.

In the latest example of crisis-mapping during natural disasters, the World Food Program’s GIS Coordinator, Fabrice Recalt, has charted out the trajectory and intensity of Cyclone Mahasen and also made a map of available storm shelters, with detailed information on their facilities and potential vulnerability to the storm (everything from number of toilets to available ...

MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images
MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images
MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

In the latest example of crisis-mapping during natural disasters, the World Food Program's GIS Coordinator, Fabrice Recalt, has charted out the trajectory and intensity of Cyclone Mahasen and also made a map of available storm shelters, with detailed information on their facilities and potential vulnerability to the storm (everything from number of toilets to available water supply to date of construction).

 

The "digital humanitarian response" trend of compiling such crucial information has been extremely important in past disasters such as Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines, when geotagged tweets referencing previously publicized disaster hashtags (as in #PabloPH) were mapped out and provided to disaster response teams. The United Nations has embraced crisis-mapping as well.

In the latest example of crisis-mapping during natural disasters, the World Food Program’s GIS Coordinator, Fabrice Recalt, has charted out the trajectory and intensity of Cyclone Mahasen and also made a map of available storm shelters, with detailed information on their facilities and potential vulnerability to the storm (everything from number of toilets to available water supply to date of construction).

 

The "digital humanitarian response" trend of compiling such crucial information has been extremely important in past disasters such as Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines, when geotagged tweets referencing previously publicized disaster hashtags (as in #PabloPH) were mapped out and provided to disaster response teams. The United Nations has embraced crisis-mapping as well.

Cyclone Mahasen, which hit Bangladesh on Thursday and threatens more than 8 million people, including displaced Rohingya Muslims in Burma, has so far mainly affected residents of fishing villages, who may not have benefitted much from Recalt’s map. The category 1 cyclone has reportedly killed at least 12 people so far, making the storm much less serious than Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which left more than 130,000 people dead, and it is expected to dissipate within the next 24 hours. But had the storm been more serious, initiatives like Recalt’s may have helped save lives.

(h/t Mari Ramos)

Neha Paliwal is the Editorial Assistant for Democracy Lab.

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