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August 29, 2006

Microsoft extends disaster relief tech help

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 12:19 PM

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Microsoft developed an online database for survivors to exchange information about their whereabouts with family and friends. The company collaborated with the Red Cross and the San Diego SuperComputer Center to build Katrinasafe.org, which was used by some 340,000 people.

Microsoft also donated 180 Smartphones and dispatched satellite-equipped buses to aid the relief effort.

In the year since, Microsoft has refined the database tool and made it available to assist with communication during future disasters. Safe and Well can be reached through disastersafe.redcross.org.

The Red Cross has since outlined three main areas of technology investment to prepare for future disasters. These include creating a call-center with capacity to handle 100,000 emergency cases a day for up to 20 days and stationing communications technologies such as satellite equipment in 21 cities.

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