Utilizing Social Media for Disaster Relief

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Description

Effective coordination of post-disaster relief operations depends critically on the availability of reliable situational information, as well as on citizen participation in the operations. The advent of online social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) and the widespread availability of mobile Internet today enable regular citizens to contribute to the relief operations, even if they are themselves stuck in the disaster effected zones. The aim of this project is to develop mechanisms for utilizing online social media for helping post-disaster relief operations. Specifically, our goal is to develop tools that help coordinate resource requests and resource offerings, to ensure optimal resource utilization during the disaster.To this end, we first propose to analyze the linguistic characteristics of resource requests and resource offerings posted on Twitter during various disaster scenarios. This analysis is likely to yield insights into how different people phrase requests and offers for resources, in various languages. Next, we plan to utilize the insights obtained from the linguistic analysis, to build systems that will help coordinate the resource requests and offerings. Specifically, we envision building an automated bot that responds appropriately to resource requests and offers, and then matches corresponding requests and offers.

To this end, we first propose to analyze the linguistic characteristics of resource requests and resource offerings posted on Twitter during various disaster scenarios. This analysis is likely to yield insights into how different people phrase requests and offers for resources, in various languages. Next, we plan to utilize the insights obtained from the linguistic analysis, to build systems that will help coordinate the resource requests and offerings. Specifically, we envision building an automated bot that responds appropriately to resource requests and offers, and then matches corresponding requests and offers.

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