Posts about neworleans

Recovery 2.0: The network

The AP reports that wimax is being deployed at a Katrina shelter and in New Orleans. Add this to Recovery 2.0.

: And here’s an AP story that illustrates just why we need Recovery 2.0 to at least communicate among good efforts:

It took Priddy and three other volunteers from the First Baptist Church most of the weekend to post details online on about 500 refugees.

Each person’s data had to be typed in five times to populate just five of as many as 50 online databases and message boards created to connect those displaced by the disaster with loved ones.

“It’s incredibly slow when you have to input each one,” Priddy said. “What’s aggravating is they are not in the same format so it’s not like you can cut and paste.”

Although the Internet makes it simple for people around the world to help out with disaster relief, all the well-intentioned but largely duplicative people-finding efforts have led to confusion, frustration and wasted time….

But who?

The Red Cross believes its Family Links Registry, previously used during civil wars abroad and the Asian tsunami, can perform that role. By Wednesday, more than 117,000 entries had been submitted by people seeking a loved one or reporting that they are safe, and many more people visited the site to conduct searches.

“Our Web site is so widely known and so heavily used that I think it’s got a momentum of its own,” said Sara Blandford, manager of international family tracing services at the
American Red Cross.

The site even has the blessing of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Nonetheless, the U.S.
Department of Justice turned to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when it wanted a database for refugee children and parents.

Having worked for years with local law enforcement agencies, the nonprofit organization was glad to build a database that, unlike the Red Cross’, has room for photos and the types of physical attributes familiar to police.

And then there’s the National Next of Kin Registry, a nonprofit group that is willing to work with relief organizations but can’t share data directly for privacy and security reasons, spokesman John Hill said. Its database isn’t publicly searchable.

Media organizations such as CNN and MSNBC have also created databases, as did the Web-only GulfCoastNews.com.

Recovery 2.0: A date to meet

Thanks to John Battelle and Web 2.0, we have a date and a room for a Recovery 2.0 meeting: Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Argent Hotel, 50 3rd Street, San Francisco. The aim, again, is to just to bring together smart people trying to do good things so we can do them better, not to create any giant organization and bureacracy (we already have FEMA and we know how well that’s working…). Background here; wiki here.

: LATER: See Chris Nolan on Recovery 2.0.

Stop the cover-up now

After every scandal comes the coverup. Katrina is a scandal. The cover-up is underway. Read Brian Williams’ blog:

At one fire scene, I counted law enforcement personnel (who I presume were on hand to guarantee the safety of the firefighters) from four separate jurisdictions, as far away as Connecticut and Illinois. And tempers are getting hot. While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won’t be any pictures of this particular group of guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.

At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media… obvious members of the media… armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It’s a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

FEMA also tried to order that the press not take pictures of bodies. Here‘s Josh Marshall on this.

If there were ever a story that demands the bright light of public scrutiny, this is it. And that is not just so people can be fired — though I’m still waiting for Brownie to get the axe — but so we can keep watch on dangerous government incompetence on behalf of our fellow citizens and so we can learn and prevent it the next time.

This is a story in which we can play some part: The survivors will soon start telling their stories. And we should be flooding the government with FOIAs.

: Reporters Without Borders issues a statement of concern about two incidents of violence against journalists.

Off the air, on the air

I’ll be on Chris Lydon’s Open Source tonight with Nola.com editor-in-chief and friend Jon Donley and Craigslist founder and friend Craig Newmark talking about Katrina and also Recovery 2.0. Sorry I’ve been otherwise on radio silence today. Been busy with meetings and a writing deadline. Will be back after the show.

: Later: Asked about reporters suddenly blogging, Donley said: “When they are faced with the biggest story they will ever cover and they h ave no way to get it out, they are very eager to blog!”

And here’s one for Smartmobs: Jon said some people who were trapped were SMSing friends elsewhere in the country who came to Nola.com to add a message pleading for help, which are monitored by people from Gen. Honore’s staff. “We do have people who’ve been rescued, whose lives have been saved that way.”

Recovery 2.0: The wiki, the place to work

Thanks to Greg Burton as well as N.Z. Bear, we now have a wiki to gather the wisdom and work of the crowds who are trying to better use the internet to respond to crises such as Katrina. Greg took the Recovery 2.0: Call to convene post and wikified it so you all can now adapt it and, most importantly, add:
1. Projects you are working on
2. Needs you see
3. Standards to rally around
4. Your names, expertise, and willingness to work.
I will be redirecting Recovery2.org there soon (otherwise crazed with work today) but in the meantime, please see the wonderful work Greg did here, at 4setup.com. And see Bear’s list of projects underway.

Also, please, please, tell me whether you can join a Recovery 2.0 meeting around Web 2.0 in San Francisco in the comments to this post. Depending on the response, we will or won’t get a room and a time thanks to John Battelle.

And I’ve been using the recovery2 tag; please do likewise with your posts. Thank you!

Hell

Truly terrible scene in the N.O. Convention Center, after the horror:

Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

“That’s a kid,” he said. “There’s another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut.”

He moved on, walking quickly through the darkness, pulling his camouflage shirt to his face to screen out the overwhelming odor.
“There’s an old woman,” he said, pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. “I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death,” he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair.

Brooks and several other Guardsmen said they had seen between 30 and 40 more bodies in the Convention Center’s freezer. “It’s not on, but at least you can shut the door,” said fellow Guardsman Phillip Thompson.

The scene of rotting bodies inside the Convention Center reflected those in thousands of businesses, schools, homes and shelters across the metropolitan area.

Searching the lists of lists

This is more like it: Yahoo has a metasearch of the lists of the missing. This is what I was hoping for, at least as a start.

Recovery 2.0: Who wants to meet

John Battelle has kindly offered a room at Web 2.0 sometime between Oct. 5 and 7 in San Francisco if enough of us want to get together to brainstorm and organize around Recovery 2.0. You tell me: Who wants to meet? Some good folks are working on a wiki now and that will be a primary means of sharing needs, answers, ideas, and standards, I hope. But getting together always yields more sharing and, I hope, more action. So please leave me comments….