Facebook rolls out disaster maps to help communities recover and rebuild faster

In a bid to help communities recover and rebuild faster in the aftermath of natural disasters in India, Facebook on Thursday introduced new measures, including its Disaster Maps feature in the country.

As part of the effort, Facebook will make data from Disaster Maps available to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), a non-profit organisation working on disaster resilience.

Disaster Maps, which was introduced globally in June, uses aggregated, de-identified Facebook data to help organisations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters.

“In times of disaster, our platform is a valuable source of information – whether it’s letting your friends and family know you are safe with Safety Check feature or using Facebook to raise donations for relief efforts,” said Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programmes, India, South and Central Asia at Facebook.

“Through our work with the National Disaster Management Authority and the roll out of Disaster Maps in India and the disaster information volunteers initiative, we hope we can help communities get the information they need to prepare, respond and recover if disaster strikes,” he added.

The measures were announced at Facebook’s first annual Disaster Response Summit in New Delhi, attended by policy makers, think tanks, and humanitarian organisations.

Facebook will provide multiple types of maps during disaster response efforts.

Location Density Maps show where people are located before, during and after a disaster.

“We can compare this information to historical records, like population estimates based on satellite images. Comparing these data sets can help response organizations understand areas impacted by a natural disaster,” Facebook said in a statement.

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