ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citizen-reporting platform Ushahidi has gained international renown this week for its innovative contribution to information-gathering in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti. Now, Ushahidi, in partnership with U.S. Department of State and others, has introduced an SMS shortcode for subscribers on the DigiCell network in Haiti to send text messages free of charge. The shortcode makes it even faster and easier for eyewitnesses to report developments on the ground.
DigiCell subscribers in Haiti can text 4636 with location and description of emergencies and missing persons. Ushahidi's Haiti platform is live at: http://haiti.ushahidi.com.
Please note that the SMS shortcode is dependent on local telecom infrastructure -- if the infrastructure fails, the local SMS service will not work. However, there are several ways that incidents may be reported:
Minutes after the earthquake was felt in Haiti, a global team of staff and volunteers deployed Ushahidi, an incident reporting and mapping tool widely known for tracking post-election violence in Kenya, conflict in Gaza, and national elections in India. As the primary platform for reporting incidents in Haiti, Ushahidi serves as a vital tool to aid decision-making, direct resources and understand the situation in real time.
The Ushahidi team is collaborating with many organizations working in Haiti and beyond: the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, the International Network of Crisis Mappers and the major telecommunications operators in Haiti, among others. A team of developers, humanitarians, academics, and international development practitioners have been working to ensure the site is stable and that incoming reports are accurately categorized and geo-located.
The system is currently tracking information in the several categories and subcategories including: emergencies, threats, responder activities, news about individuals, and the location of resources.
To see media reports on Ushahidi's work on this crisis, visit http://www.google.com/news/search?aq=f&pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=Haiti+Ushahidi