Earthquake in Haiti

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On January 12 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Haiti and resulted in widespread devastation and a humanitarian crisis. SMCS were used to disseminating information and coordinating relief efforts.
Involved Organisations:
international relief organizations
Publishing Organisation

European Organisation for Security (EOS)




Crowdsourcing, Social Media

  • Collecting and Analysing Information from SMCS
  • Ensuring Credible Information
  • Making Information Accessible
Disaster Management Phase



In January 2010, a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, resulting in widespread destruction and a high death toll of over 230,000 people. The international community swiftly responded by initiating search and rescue missions and providing emergency aid.

The existing disaster-response system employed by relief organizations in Haiti primarily focused on facilitating information sharing among international teams of responders. However, this system had limitations in aggregating and prioritizing data from external sources, which made it challenging to harness valuable information from the local Haitian community.

To address this gap, Ushahidi, an open-source crisis-mapping software originally developed and used in Kenya, played a crucial role. It provided a platform to collect, organize, and disseminate critical information directly from Haitians. Social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, as well as text messages sent via mobile phones, became channels through which information was gathered.

Volunteers from around the world formed an international group that received reports about trapped individuals, medical emergencies, and specific needs like food, water, and shelter. These reports were promptly plotted on real-time maps, accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

On-the-ground responders began utilizing this information to determine the most effective allocation of resources, deciding where and when to direct aid efforts. However, the significant challenge emerged in verifying and prioritizing the large influx of reports. Nevertheless, ad hoc solutions were found, involving manual monitoring and sorting of information to ensure the most urgent needs were addressed.
Which social media and crowdsourcing technologies were used?
Which social media platforms were used?
Which hashtags or keywords were used?
Additional Links