Thursday, June 14, 2007

Peer-2-Peer for Disaster Relief

This looks like a well-needed venture into distributed disaster relief: iCare - P2P Giving for Disaster Relief

According to Smartmobs: 'The iCare project emerged from ideas shared by two Berkeley College students, while watching he devastation of Hurricane Katrina unfold:

After hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, Berkeley Engineering graduate students Ephrat Bitton and Anand Kulkarni watched with the rest of the world as logistical snafus, bureaucratic red tape and communication breakdowns prevented charitable aid from quickly reaching the storm’s victims. There was a disconnect between those who had something to offer and those who needed it. Since then, the two students have spent their free time developing a Web application to help ensure that such a disconnect would never happen again. Their system automatically pairs donors with those in need, creating a "marketplace of charity" while putting a human face on the process of giving.

[...] After a disaster, victims can log onto the website and report their specific needs, and those requests will be connected to donors—companies or individuals—who are offering that particular kind of aid. The researchers also hope that this demand-response approach will reduce the wasteful excess of some goods and the shortage of others.'

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