In a disaster-struck area, rapid response becomes a crucial factor, particularly in preventing a disease outbreak. Managing aid and logistics in the wake of an earthquake, flood or hurricane becomes an even greater challenge when there is no reliable way to identify or share accurate locations.
Roads can be washed away; Street signs ripped from the ground or hidden underwater. And entire towns can be turned to rubble. Identifying the precise location of people in such circumstances is a near-impossible task. And in many cases, the worst hits places are also those that suffered from poor or inconsistent addressing even before a disaster.
This was the scene facing Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS) in October 2016, following the devastation in Haiti caused by Hurricane Matthew. This rapid response provider specialise in securing clean water supplies, to prevent cholera outbreaks and other water-borne diseases.
Once on the ground, IHS turned to what3words to provide a reliable, accurate and user-friendly location system. Different teams could pinpoint their position via a 3 word address and share this information quickly and easily with each other, and with command HQ back in the US.
As the team travelled around the island, they also used what3words to identify areas in need assistance. These 3 word addresses were communicated back to the UN’s WASH Cluster, responsible for monitoring and evaluating water, sanitation and hygiene levels during a humanitarian crisis.
“The entire IHS team converted to what3words while we were deployed“, said Dr Eric Rasmussen, CEO of IHS. “The team travelled from Port-au-Prince to an area where about 4,000 people live in the coastal forest, yet there is no town, no centre. We provided power and the first clean water in the area since Hurricane Matthew levelled the place.”
Working from their temporary accommodation within the UN’s Humanitarian Logistics Base at chino.liberating.summaries (revenir.cheval.éolienne) and commuting to their field operations centre at speculating.specials.treetops (critère.évaluer.incluant), the IHS team provided power, lighting and clean water to help a remote clinic deliver more than 700 cholera vaccinations.
IHS also installed a solar powered electrical supply and a permanent water purification system within the combination school and clinic, at mythically.crested.diehard (aucun.livrant.commencer), and both systems are now managed entirely by local staff.