Joplin and Minneapolis: Grassroots tornado-recovery & info-sharing on Facebook

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12 Responses to “Joplin and Minneapolis: Grassroots tornado-recovery & info-sharing on Facebook”

  1. Childe Roland says:

    The Red Cross is great, but if their people finder was a killer app, people wouldn’t have to be told 3 times to use it. The Red Cross needs to be out there pushing that page on facebook. I am not picking on them; many large command-and-control emergency organizations are wrestling with the uncommanded and uncontrolled world of social networking.

    There was a facebook page up and being used to support Denning, Arkansas probably about 15 minutes after the tornado hit there early this morning. Centralized information services will have to beat that if they expect to replace it.

  2. k7aay says:

    Godfrey Daniel, Mother-of-Pearl!

    I know best intentions are in play here, and the resource listings could be helpful; but as a disaster worker, I tell you three times, there is _one_ place to use as a lost-and-found people finder, and that is http://j.mp/safeandwell AKA http://safeandwell.communityos.org the People Finder of the American Red Cross.

    Why? Because it’s up and running as a priority app at every Red Cross shelter, everybody in the country is calling their local Red Cross chapter to find where their friends and relatives are, and that’s where the Red Cross will look, not one of bazillion FaceBook pages with *questionable* privacy practices.

    Google’s Person Finder http://www.google.com/crisisresponse/resources.html is also well-intentioned but it is crisis-specific and does not work for Joplin, North Minneapolis and smaller disasters.

    Please use the _one_ reliable, universal solution, and help your friends and family get reconnected.

    • mpb says:

      I’d like to endorse this idea. The problem with multiple sites is multiple info, not centralized, and of varying quality and datedness.

  3. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    2011: Tornado hits Minneapolis, MN. 35 homes destroyed, 600 buildings damaged, one person killed.
    1998: Tornadoes hits St. Peter, MN and other nearby towns. 500 homes destroyed in St. Peter alone, 1700 damaged in St. Peter alone, two people killed.
    2011: Tornado hits Joplin, MO. A yet-uncounted but unquestionably large number of buildings damaged and destroyed, 118+ people killed.
    2011: Tornado hits Tuscaloosa, AL. Widespread damage, 61 people killed.

    Maggie, you’re in a good position to address my questions. Why is it that tornadoes that hit Minnesota kill so few people, even when they hit population centers and damage or destroy large numbers of buildings? Why is it that tornadoes in other parts of the country seem to be so much more deadly? Is there something Minnesota is doing right in terms of policy and disaster preparedness that the rest of the country ought to copy? Or is there something different about the tornadoes in Minnesota that makes them wreck structures without killing people, like a neutron bomb in reverse?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oldbrownsquirrel –

      I’m not sure that Minnesota is doing anything different as far as disaster preparedness. Many people in the recent North Minneapolis storm claim they didn’t hear the sirens go off until just after the tornado passed through.

      I think a big reason less people get injured in northern states would have to be basements. Basements are necessary in colder climates because the foundation has to be below the frost line, which can be between 2-3 feet below ground in Minnesota during a really cold winter. This prevents the building from shifting during the freeze/thaw cycle. Softer soils also make it easier to dig them, whereas many southern areas have more dense soils, making it financially difficult.

      If anyone from the south is reading this, I would be curious as to how many homes have basements or storm cellars. Having a government program to increase the amount of storm shelters might not be a bad idea. Perhaps tax rebates or something like that.

  4. mpb says:

    I’m sure (I’d like to think) U Delaware and other preparedness research places have started this. There have been some good ideas in the past but I haven’t seen any genuine analysis of their effectiveness–

    2007 floods in England, one town set up its own wordpress.com blog to provide information and pictures, http://cheltenhamboroughcouncil.wordpress.com/

    Katrina, http://www.gulfcoastnews.com/ had one of the best bulletin boards for locating names (accessible and quick)

    Facebook for Christchurch, NZ, a whole slew of them– doesn’t seem especially useful unless one picks a popular one to like:

    The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
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    43 members
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    8 members
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    Like
    The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
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    and so on

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone working on best practices for social / collaborative media’s help during an emergency? I’ve anecdotally heard of volunteers helping, but wondered if there is group figuring out how to best make this work?

  6. Beryllium says:

    A mobile laundromat? Whoever thought of that is a genius.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree. I thought it was a stupid idea until I was knee deep in the slog during Katrina…

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is great! I like the information on contractors. Storm Chasers(contractor scammers) are a huge problem for homeowners, business owners, insurance companies, and other contractors.

  8. imnotpete says:

    There are also Facebook groups for Joplin specifically for reuniting residents with their possessions (especially photos) and their pets

  9. charming.quark says:

    Not sure if it’s the same one, but Tide runs a mobile laundromat for disaster victims called Loads of Hope.
    http://www.tide.com/en-US/loads-of-hope/about.jspx

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