Prepping at night for a training of female police officers and social workers the next day. Credit: Cary McCormick, Philippines
Prepping at night for a training of female police officers and social workers the next day. Credit: Cary McCormick, Philippines

Imagine a flood strikes, filling your house with water and washing you away from your children; or waking up alone in hospital after an earthquake has hit your home; or getting separated from your loved ones after the panic caused by an airstrike. Electricity is affected, the phone lines are down. How do you raise the alarm?

Unicef, the UN children’s fund, has a solution: RapidFTR (rapid family tracing and reunification). The brainchild of a New York student, RapidFTR is an open-source app designed to reunite children with their families in rapidly developing disaster situations.

Using android phones and laptops, the app enables humanitarian workers to register information about missing children, which is then uploaded to a database accessible by those responsible for child welfare. The quicker children are found, the less vulnerable they are to violence, exploitation and trafficking.

RapidFTR was trialled in a Congolese transit refugee camp in Uganda and, most recently, in the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan swept through the country. In future, Unicef wants RapidFTR to become a standard tool in emergency supply kits.

Read the full article on The Guardian here

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