Nepal Earthquake: KLL Situation Room Update, May 26

It is Day 31 since we launched QuakeMap.org. Understandably the number of new reports coming in have now decreased but the pace of work at QuakeMap has anything but slowed down. Today we will illustrate how QuakeMap is operating through one of its reports’ life cycle:

QuakeMap – No report is left ‘unclosed’

On April 29, the following report was filed on QuakeMap:

Report Filed on April 29
Fig – Report Filed on April 29

After a report is filed, it is first checked for its locational and categorical (urgent, actionable, non-actionable) accuracy. Then the report is approved to be part of the mainstream QuakeMap process.

Firstly, the needs depicted in the original report are verified to be still extant by  QuakeMap’s verification team. For this one of the verifiers contacts the original reporter using the contact number enlisted on the report. On this particular case, however, the first such attempt did not prove to be fruitful:

Fig - Ajita (QuakeMap Verifier) trying to reach contact on the report; and Jay (someone helpful soul) helping out with alternate contact numbers
Fig – Ajita (QuakeMap Verifier) trying to reach contact on the report; and Jay (some helpful soul) helping out with alternate contact numbers

On May 7, after eight days of relentless attempts, Sefali (another QuakeMap verifier) finally got in touch with the on-ground contact, Bishnu, mentioned on the report. This telephone call between Sefali and Bishnu was summarized in the comments by Aayush Khadka (QuakeMap volunteer) as thus:

Fig - Needs verified
Fig – Needs get verified after contact with 0n-ground contact; and the needs are connected to Helping Hands (relief provider)

Therefore, upon talking with Mr. Bishnu, the needs in the original report were verified as being still relevant and extant. QuakeMap volunteers then also searched for the available help (relief efforts) in its database and matched the needs articulated by Mr. Bishnu to the relief efforts being rendered by Helping Hands. Helping Hands assured us that they will be following up on this report with Mr. Bishnu directly.

This is a fine example of what QuakeMap has been doing since the very beginning. We do not conduct relief efforts ourselves but we help match existing needs to available relief efforts so that right help reaches right places in the right amount.

Fig - Whatever man. I will write it down later
Fig – Some help finally reaches Tripureswor VDC of Dhading district

On May 11, Mr. Pramendra Khadgi, commented on the report that he met Mr. Bishnu in person and detailed out his team’s relief effort in the region. Hurray! Some help finally reaches Tripureswor VDC, Dhading.

However, it is not time to ‘close’ the report just yet as Chris (one of our many volunteers from Humanity Road (HR), who are our night-shift volunteers and have been tremendously supporting the operation of QuakeMap)  rightly points out:

Same here.
Fig – Should we close the report now? Not yet.

At QuakeMap, a report gets ‘closed’ only when no further action is required based on the contents of the original report. And we ‘close’ a report only after we verify with the on-ground contact person that needs have been met. We do it for two reasons – we want to make sure that all needs have been fully met (so that reports with partially met needs are not accidentally closed) and to ensure that there are no new needs in the region – the last bit being critically important as is evident in the last comment on this report:

ok
Fig – Needs still exist; and QuakeMap is still working on it

On May 20, Upasana (another QuakeMap verifier) was still calling to check if the needs were fully met and she found that tents, mats and water purifiers are still urgently needed. Hence this particular report cannot be ‘closed’ yet and the QuakeMap team – 21 days after the report was filed and 9 days after the news of needs being met partially – are still looking for relief providers who can provide Mr. Bishnu’s Triupureswor VDC, Dhading with tents, mats and water purifiers. Today is May 26, and QuakeMap is still working at it and many such other reports. As we said – No report is left ‘unclosed’!

Indiegogo Crowdfunding update

In order to realistically pursue this maxim of, “No report is left unclosed,” we have setup a crowdfunding campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/maps-for-nepal#/story. 64 noble souls have funded 17% of our campaign target so far. Please donate and spread the word.

Featured Volunteer of the Day

Time to meet one of such awesome QuakeMap volunteers who is determined to see all reports ‘closed’.

Bibhushan Shakya
Bibhushan Shakya

Who are you?
I am a theoretical physicist by profession – I got my PhD in theoretical physics a couple of years ago and at the moment I work at the University of Michigan. I have been living in the US for the past 11 years, and I had come to Nepal for a month, arriving the day before the April 25 earthquake; my sister was supposed to get married that week, and I had planned to trek to Everest Base Camp after that.

Where were you during the earthquake?
I was sleeping off my jet lag when the earthquake struck.

Why are you here?
I have always reminded myself that I have been fortunate enough to go to the best schools in the country, and then the best institutions in the US. I was part of a select group that had the best opportunities everywhere. If someone so privileged and educated lays low and does nothing at such time of need, there is absolutely no hope for the rest of the country. So inaction was never an option, and I just needed to figure out where I could contribute the most. After briefs attempts to help at emergency wards of hospitals, cleaning up public areas occupied by the displaced, and groups attempting to provide relief to affected villages, I saw that there was no shortage of volunteers willing to rush to the field and offer a hand, but things were very chaotic and reliable and organized information was very much needed. Luckily, at one of these meetings I found out about the work KLL was doing.

What has your experience been?
It is simply incredible how much the group has grown, and how much this group of hard-working people have accomplished, in a span of a few days. When I first arrived at KLL four days after the earthquake, the website had just been set up and there were just a couple of people entering reports; now it has grown into a full fledged team that deals with reports in real time by communicating directly with relief organizations. In some ways this is a far more draining, thankless task than traveling to villages to provide relief, since there is no instant gratification of seeing the difference being made. So it is very encouraging to see the determination and positive energy in the group to keep going. This has been one of the most gratifying experiences in my life.

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