Call for Code Solution Starters

Humanitarian Protection in Times of Disaster


Sadly, victims can't always find equal access to humanitarian action and assistance following a disaster. The most excluded and at-risk populations are commonly overlooked when it comes to technologies that provide adequate warnings ahead of time about impending natural disasters. Setting up contingency plans that medically vulnerable individuals might need during and after a disaster will greatly alleviate this technology gap.

The elderly, disabled, and impoverished are statistically more likely to experience the adverse effects of natural disaster, including loss of property and loss of life. Studies show individuals with disabilities or health issues consistently have much higher rates of mortality - up to twice as much as the general population. By targeting equal humanitarian efforts across the board, overall mortality rates can be drastically reduced post-disaster.

Use the proposed solution idea below to inspire what you build to address this problem through your own custom Call for Code submission.

The idea

The team approached the problem by creating a mobile-first, message-oriented system to help identify individuals with limited mobility and provide them with real-time information about a disaster so they can make an informed choice about evacuation and find loved ones at a shelter.

Using this approach, vulnerable populations can be contacted earlier, and authorities can prioritize aid to those who are likely to need it most and empower those who can still actively choose whether to accept help.

How it works

This solution assumes that the end user, in this case a vulnerable person who lives in the path of a natural disaster, can use a mobile phone or has a proxy with access to a mobile network and electricity. The app has four key features in the event of an evacuation:

  1. Identify people with limited mobility
  2. Enable informed choice about evacuation
  3. Give them real-time evacuation information
  4. Find their family at a shelter

Additional diagrams and documentation

This solution starter idea can help to quickly prioritize help to those who need it most.

  1. Before a disaster, a mobile application or profile is created with personal user data and needs, such as whether the user is elderly and cares for a granddaughter. This is used to target alerts.
  2. The vulnerable person responds to the alert confirming whether they are indeed in need (by voice or text). If so, they receive relevant information on an evacuation plan (who is coming and when).
  3. That expression of need is matched to a catalog of public and private services that can provide help (hailing an Uber, making a 911 call).
  4. An optional feature can then help them be matched with loved ones.
Architecture Diagram

Tech to implement the solution