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News — 01 April, 2019

Cyclone Idai: how can you help by mapping?

Volunteers, we need your help! Over the past few weeks, Cyclone Idai has caused widespread destruction across Mozambique and Zimbabwe, destroying homes and infrastructure. The situation on the ground is constantly changing and the humanitarian teams responding need up-to-date information at their fingertips. We need your help to update maps of the areas affected by the Cyclone. This is a critical time in the lives of millions of people and you can help humanitarian responders provide lifesaving aid.

What do we need?

Humanitarians need maps to plan their emergency response. MSF and IFRC are already using OpenStreetMap, but they need more up to date information to improve their response: where are buildings, roads, waterways? This is where HOT volunteers come in. You can help update these maps and get crucial data into the hands of frontline responders and decision makers.

“It is now almost a reflex for MSF teams in an emergency setting to ask for GIS support for epidemiology response by mapping out cases to see where patients come from,” says Audrey Lessard-Fontaine, Head of MSF’s GIS Unit. “They also need GIS support for water and sanitation assessments, to map out where the water points and latrines are.”

HOT is working with the IFRC and MSF to map the critical areas. Humanitarian organisations are also now responding to a cholera outbreak, declared in Mozambique, which poses a great risk of spreading. These teams need to act fast. Find out what you can do to help below.

“IFRC will use this content to support the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) to deliver assistance to 200,000 people with a focus on the following areas of focus: shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, livelihood and basic needs, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), protection, gender and inclusion,” says IFRC.

How can you help?

  • Host a mapathon: Organise some friends or colleagues to host a mapathon to support people affected by Cyclone Idai. Find all the information on how to set up your mapathon here.
  • Map: You can learn to map very easily online and start contributing on the HOT Tasking Manager.
  • Validate: If you’re an experienced mapper, help us verify data quality by validating!
  • Spread the word: Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and share our messages to encourage more mappers!
  • Ask us questions: We’re available to support you with any questions on these activities, please join us on the HOT Slack Channel and head to #mapper-support for assistance.

A big thank you to the mapping community! From everyone at HOT, we wish the best possible outcome for anyone affected by these disasters.

Find out more

Photo credit: Jamie LeSueur, IFRC

This project was funded by the H2H Fund, which is supported by UK aid from the UK government.