VOST: Crowdsourcing and Digital Volunteering in Emergency Response

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
EENA a.s.b.l.
Covers Thematic
  • Technologies Software for interaction with, within or among communities in case of a disaster and for analysis of these interactions
  • Unaffiliated volunteers Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers are individuals or groups that:</br>*arrive unsolicited at the scene of a disaster</br>*may or may not be a resident of the affected community</br>*may or may not possess skills necessary to respond to the current disaster</br>*are not associated with any part of the existing emergency management system </br></br>Source: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/Archive/202852NCJRS.pdf
  • VOST Virtual Operations Support Team</br></br>Experts in dealing with social media, the acquisition, processing and presentation of digital information. They can search through and check images, videos and text contributions on various platforms for relevant facts and prepare the information for the responsible authorities, e.g. separate important from unimportant or incorrect information.
  • Target audience
  • Civil Society Civil society is a target group in LINKS which comprises citizens, civil society organizations, educational institutions, vulnerable groups, social movement organizations
  • Policy Makers local, national, and European agencies and institutes, public authorities, standardization bodies
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source: https://www.fp7-emergent.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170529_D7.3_Guidelines_to_increase_the_benefit_of_social_media_EmerGent.pdf
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • During Also referred to as "Response Phase"</br></br>Actions taken directly before, during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.</br></br>Annotation: Disaster response is predominantly focused on immediate and short-term needs and is sometimes called disaster relief. Effective, efficient and timely response relies on disaster risk-informed preparedness measures, including the development of the response capacities of individuals, communities, organizations, countries and the international community.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/response
  • After Also referred to as 'Recovery Phase'</br></br>The restoring or improving of livelihoods and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets, systems and activities, of a disaster-affected community or society, aligning with the principles of sustainable development and “build back better”, to avoid or reduce future disaster risk.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/recovery
  • Synopsis
    • During emergencies and disasters, the challenge is to cope with either the lack of information or an information overload.
    • The social media world with its crowdsourcing approach has options to offer to overcome this issue, through the digital volunteers.
    • VOST and other groups can provide support
      • in hoax and abusive behaviour detection
      • in monitoring multiple channels
      • in amplification of information, and
      • can perform specific missions and tasks requested by an agency or emergency response organisation (EROs),
        • including sometimes even taking over SM accounts in crisis situations.
    • Building on the relationships and the agreements established with digital volunteers before the emergency can greatly benefit all parties during a crisis.

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