A little off topic but someone may know someone who...
I just realised the need for a niche application. A disaster survivors'
contact system. The BBC today have started a similar set of lists. My sister
has just returned from the Maldives early this morning. We found it
impossible to get information from the area and the FCO database appears to
have crashed, loosing all data that I and my father (and every one else) had
managed to give them (after days of trying to get through on the phone)! Why
there is no web support is beyond me! They wouldn't take email addresses
either! So much for government support of IT!
I suppose that a wiki type system may work where friends/relatives can
report the missing, or update details, those escaping could add comments of
known survivors/deaths describe people that they had seen, conditions on the
ground etc. Relief agencies could also benefit. Data could also be uploaded
from travel agencies in the form of name, postcode, itinerary (useful if
your a burglar!), and photo's of the dead / living unable to communicate,
etc. could also be published by hospitals.
I was amazed at how little information we could glean, despite reporters on
the ground and video reports from the area. The High Commission in Colombo
were unaware of my sister, even though we'd reported her to the FCO and
she'd been on Sri Lanka a few days before. This implies that the FCO does
not communicate data to it's overseas offices! My sister and her children
were very lucky and the only thing that she lost was her mobile (She could
hear it ringing somewhere in the sand!), although she was in fear of her
life for much of the time as being on a Northerly Island, they bore the
brunt of the tsunami. Many less resourceful lost everything as they had not
stored items at a high level despite warnings of further waves.
The FCO was a complete waste, what is needed is an international NGO info
I hope that anyone on the list that may still have friends or relatives in
the stricken areas are soon re-united and are not suffering the torture of
not knowing what is happening. If you have people in the Maldives I can ask
my sister for news if you can supply names/descriptions.