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Disaster Relief: The Impact of Technology

sallyg September 12, 2017

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I continue to be glued to the news overwhelmed by the devastation left in the path of recent hurricanes as well as the expectation of what is coming.  However, I have been struck by the impact of technology during these horrible times.

My hometown is in Texas but fortunately not impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  I do however have a good many friends who are in the Houston area.  While I am not typically into lots of Facebook feeds, I found myself captivated by their posts. They were able to quickly and efficiently update friends and family to their current status. Sadly, some posted pictures of the waters reaching to their doorways, into their homes, and then of how they left by boat. I also saw friends in surrounding cities posting that their husband or friend were taking a boat for rescues and would inquire who needs help. Suddenly, people started chiming in, posting addresses and locations of people who needed help.  Then, there would be a confirmation post that this stranger had been taken to safety. It was overwhelming to watch these connections.

I have been moved and touched by how technology made it available to everyone to help those in need. If we couldn’t be there in person to assist, we were able to participate in the relief efforts.

I saw Facebook posts in response to those friends who had great loss. There were expressions of concern and prayer, but also I saw friends create Amazon wish lists for their friends in need. The church has also responded to the need. While many created buckets of cleaning supplies or have already sent teams, many more created giving options. At ACS Technologies, we took many phone calls from churches wanting to set up text giving or additional giving links to gather funds for those in need. They then shared these with sponsor churches or organizations in the area. Their own local church body could immediately donate to areas that needed aid.

Through all of this, I’ve been impacted by how different evacuation and relief efforts are today than years in the past – and for that I am thankful.

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