Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.
The United Nations says 11 million people are affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hammered the islands a week ago today. The death toll is now more than 3,000, and the survivors are still struggling to get the food and water they so desperately need.
Blocked roads, destroyed buildings and downed telecommunications systems are making it difficult for relief workers to reach some of the most devastated regions of the Philippines.
But more than 900 people are lending a hand remotely by collaborating on online maps, through the OpenStreetMap network. The maps use satellite technology and the knowledge of the public to help relief organizations, like the Red Cross, know where buildings and roads are located and how and where to best deliver supplies.
Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Dale Kunce, a geospatial engineer with the American Red Cross.
“Roads and buildings are the most important things for us,” Kunce says. “We need to map the roads so that we know where to go, so that we know how to get around, basically. We wanted to map all of the buildings so that we could map what was there before, so that we could start to do damage assessments to understand the overall calamity of what happened, so that we could then prioritize different areas.”
We also hear reports from the BBC’s Paul Moss in the port city of Ormoc, on Leyte Island, and the BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani in the heavily damaged city of Tacloban.