The Web and Disaster...

Today Will Richardson wrote about how information from the tsunami effected areas of the Indian Ocean is being published by not only traditional news sources, but also bloggers and how a tool such as RSS can be used to help one keep up to date with the latest information. He points to a New York Times piece which highlights some specific sites that illustrate this point. Will's post also contains a link to a Google News Feed he created using a form off of Justin Phlister's site. This form creates an RSS feed based on Google News search criteria.

While reading some of the weblogs pointed to in the Times article, I came across AlertNet. Reuters AlertNet is a humanitarian news network. It aims to keep relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe.As you can imagine, the Alertnet site is publishing quite a bit of information on the Indian Ocean earthquake.

It was originally set up as a response to the Rwanda crisis of 1994, the Reuters Foundation became interested in media reports of poor coordination between emergency relief charities on the ground. It surveyed charities on what could be done to remedy this. The conclusion was that there was a need for a service that would deliver operation-critical information to relief charities worldwide, incentivise relief charities to swap information with one another, and raise awareness of humanitarian emergencies among the general public.

AlertNet attracts upwards of three million users a year, has a network of more than three hundred contributing humanitarian organizations and its weekly email digest is received by more than 10,000 readers.

After a bit of hunting around, I also found an Alternet RSS feed from Newsisfree.