Update #7 Nepal earthquake deployment

One week on

One week ago, at about 09:00 UTC an old friend was at my house having a cup tea when my phone started to go crazy. An earthquake had hit Nepal and, given the magnitude and the location the humanitarian impact was likely to be significant.

It is one week on and we are going strong. My Skype client looks like a Christmas tree with flashing lights and alerts from huge numbers of chats.

It must seem crazy to new volunteers when they drop into the deployment windows.

In fact I know it does seem crazy because I’ve been a volunteer with the Standby Task Force since 2011 and I always joined deployments with a sense that I didn’t fully understand the way things worked. I felt that there were other people there, “proper” Standby Task Force people and that I was just visiting. Maybe it’s British diffidence, maybe it’s just me but I suspect that a lot of people feel that way.

I only joined the Core Team earlier this year. This is my third deployment as a member of the core team. I can tell you that there are some people with amazing skills working on this deployment, people with incredible experience, people with a vast wealth of knowledge.

And most of us don’t see ourselves as one of those people. But we really should. Everyone I have met on this deployment has added real value. Maybe because they are a GIS-genius, or maybe because they are a stickler for detail. Maybe because they have lived and worked in Nepal and have local knowledge, maybe because they know how to create teams on Tweetdeck. Maybe because their grit and determination was an inspiration for others, maybe because they made some people laugh.

One of the strange things about the Standby Task Force is that, in a way, there is nothing there. We don’t have staff or buildings or structures or most of the things that we expect from organisations.

What we do have is an amazing network of people, a space for those people to collaborate in and a mission.

So if you haven’t signed up for this deployment yet, or if you dropped in and felt a bit intimidated, I urge you to step forward, bring all your skills, bring all your experience, bring a will to collaborate and you will seek how much difference you can make.

And those of you that have joined the deployment.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

What we’ve been up to

We’ve been able to produce really comprehensive 3W reports. We know that these are being read because agencies have contacted us with updates to their entries or to be added. The urgent needs work continues apace. We are using Verily to try to keep our picture or needs and offers as current as possible.

MicroMappers has stood down but UAViators are flying in Nepal and we hope to be able to work with them tagging UAV images soon.

Our data feeds are being shared with agencies active on the ground: UN-OCHA, WFP, Shelter cluster, NetHope, Amnesty International, KLL, Langtang Missing group,Global logistics cluster and Mercy Corps to pick a random few.

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