A year after Hurricane Katrina and there is still much to do. Brian Oberkirch tells us about two ways to help.
Fix the Gulf
Blogs can be efficient tools for gathering current, local news and matching resources with needs. There is still a mountain of work to do in all the communities along the coast, and this new project aims to 1) keep the spotlight on the continued disaster, 2) identify specific local needs and match those with people who want to provide help and 3) spotlight other bloggers, videobloggers, podcasters and locals using these tools to spread the word.
I'm looking for editors in each of the affected towns who want to help me aggregate information and outreach for their areas. In addition to the blog, we have a wiki we'll use to let people post up their own links, requests, material, etc.
When a storm comes, we all spend the week asking each other what we're going to do about it. "Are you leaving? Getting your supplies gathered to hunker down? Boarding up? Where you headed?" And so on. HurricaneMind takes that process and writes it large.
The idea is to take the wisdom of crowds and apply it to hurricane prep. In addition to telling you what your neighbors are thinking, I'd like the app to map hotel room availability, gather current open evacuation routes, show you where plywood and other supplies are still available and aggregate news sources in one central spot.
I've started a blog and wiki to get a team together to help me build and launch this community service focused application here.
The Times-Picayune is already working with Oberkirch as you can imagine how helpful this project will be for resource-strapped local media. Someone at FEMA or the American Red Cross should also be contacting him. This could become a powerful tool for future natural disasters.
Brian ends his note with “Don't forget about us down here.” No way. Never.