Posted by Akhtar Badshah Senior Director, Global Community Affairs
The earthquake in Haiti is an absolute tragedy.
I clearly remember the precise moment when the Tsunami struck Indonesia in 2004 and how that set in motion a chain of events that would hopefully allow us to be better prepared to respond to such tragedies in the future.
We have learned from the Tsunami, and from subsequent tragedies including Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the Sichuan earthquake in China. Since 2004, Microsoft has been supporting NetHope, a membership organization of some of the world’s largest humanitarian relief organizations, which focuses on ensuring that these organizations are prepared to react quickly and effectively to work together during an emergency. Technology is playing a key role in mobilizing support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake and also in coordinating relief efforts. PC World reports that Twitter, Facebook and Skype are all being utilized to get the word out around the world and tell the story of the tragedy that is unfolding locally.
Microsoft is making an initial commitment of $1.25 million, which includes cash and in-kind contributions. Other support efforts include:
1. By activating our Disaster Response team- a dedicated group that plans how our company, people and partners can be mobilized during issues such as this- through outreach to lead government, inter-government and non-government agencies involved in leading local and global response efforts. We’re currently engaged with humanitarian relief organizations to assess how we can make a difference. More information on Microsoft Disaster Response is on our Microsoft Corporate Citizenship website.
2. We have issued an appeal to our employees to support the relief organizations working in Haiti – we match our US based employees donations up to a maximum of $12,000 per employee.
3. We are working with impacted customers and partners to help get critical systems up and running.
4. We are helping drive awareness and donations for relief efforts through MSN and Bing.
5. The NetHope Emergency Working Group was activated last night to set up the basic telecommunications communications between the relief agencies operating in the affected areas.
6. The NetHope Haiti Emergency Center (a secure Sharepoint application used by all of the NetHope members) is active and serves as a focal point for all reports, events, contact lists and collaboration.
Microsoft is committed to supporting the immediate relief and rescue efforts in Haiti and we are working with our NGO partners to provide the necessary support.
There are many opportunities to help, through donations of your time as a volunteer, and through financial contributions. We invite you to consider supporting any of the following relief organizations in supporting the work they are doing around Haiti:
American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
Save the Children: http://www.savethechildren.org/
World Vision International: http://wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf