The Mobile Response to Nepal

May 27, 2015 - 3 Comments

Wesley_KingThis post was written by guest blogger Wesley King, a business systems analyst at Cisco

The World is Flat, not a Flatscreen

I can’t deny it any longer. The apps on my mobile devices, and my social network living inside those apps, are influencing my behavior. In the case of disaster relief, at least, this influence is for the better.

While playing Words with Friends, I am asked to “Play to Help Nepal.” While paying my sister back for a Mother’s Day through Venmo, I notice my news feed has been taken over by @Possible (Possible Health).

“A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Kathmandu valley in Nepal. Donate $5 to Possible and help build back Nepal’s healthcare system relief efforts.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 7.23.49 PM

A few taps on the screen and I watch my money move, along with relief workers, aid, and social awareness.

What is this, The Sims? No. This is real life. Through user devices and endpoints, we can now look closer at disaster, and more deeply feel the reverberations of heartache. This isn’t a barrage of dramatized daily media; this is real news, zoomed way in. This is how we combat digital desensitization and detachment. This is reality through a virtual lens; what life-sized pixels look like.

Attention to detail

In mobile design, we are in constant pursuit of perfecting the “look and feel” of an app. To do this, we ask questions:

  • Do these pixels pop?
  • Do those shadows drop?
  • Does this dropbox crop?
  • What is the response time?
  • Is it fast enough?
  • How long can we hold the user’s attention?

These are very relevant questions, given the recent events in Nepal. When a natural disaster – earthquake, tsunami, hurricane – hits, we snap to attention, ready to help. With current technology, our responses are getting snappier and more impressive: see NASA tech rescues 4 quake survivors.

How long will you pay attention to those in need? What kind of action(s) will you take?

The following organizations have used mobile apps and/or crowdfunding to raise significant funding to support Nepalese earthquake survivors:

Possible Health

$160K + since September, providing healthcare to the Nepalese poor

$50K + for earthquake victims

“In everything we do, we believe in proving it’s possible to deliver high-quality, low-cost healthcare to the world’s poor.”

Indiegogo Life

$500,000 goal almost reached

Crowd rise

$1.6 million +

How is Cisco supporting the relief effort in Nepal?

The Cisco Foundation made a $100,000 grant to NetHope to provide emergency communications and support information sharing among responding organizations. A member of Cisco’s Tactical Operations Team also spent more than two weeks in Nepal, where he helped set up emergency communications so responders can coordinate delivery of food, water, and medical care where it’s needed most. Finally, Cisco is encouraging employees to donate to organizations responding to the crisis, such as the Red Cross, Unicef, and the World Food Program, and to request matching funds through the Cisco Foundation.


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  1. As a CCIE Security, preparing since may 18 2014. I would like to know something that relates to the usage and motivation and ground reality regarding how its performing in and for real victims and survivors.
    We would like to conduct that micro level study “How the external help changing the psychology of the people in Nepal and ground Zero.

    Is there any way that i can join in your team?

    • Hi Arun –

      We suggest you check with Possible Health for information on ways to help. They are still involved in the response, and were helping in Nepal even before the recent disasters.

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