Google Launches Person Finder Tool To Help Nepal Earthquake Victims Track Down Loved Ones
With the death toll now beyond 1,800 in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Google has launched a Person Finder Tool to reconnect those affected and to help rescue teams refine their searches.
Individuals can use the Person Finder Tool, which is offered in both Nepali and English, to find out the status of another person or to submit information about someone else.
The Person Finder Tool's search is also available via text message in India and the U.S. Concerned individuals can text "search" to +1-650-800-3978 in the U.S. and to +91-9773300000 in India to check on the status of a loved one.
Facebook also took action to aid in the recovery effort by activating its Safety Check tool, which it launched back in October. Facebook sent Safety Check notifications to those in or around the disaster area, Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, stated on his Facebook page.
"When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe," says Zuckerberg. "It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters. My thoughts are with everyone who's been caught up in this tragedy."
The Safety Check notifications ask Facebook users to declare the status of their well-being. Users can respond to the notifications with replies of either "I'm safe" or "I'm not in the area."
Facebook's Safety Check was motivated by the tragic earthquake and tsunami that ravaged japan in 2011. Events such as these happen too often, but people turn to Facebook in those times to check on loved ones, stated Facebook at the time.
"Each time, we see people, relief organizations and first responders turn to Facebook in the aftermath of a major natural disaster," Facebook stated back in October. "These events have taught us a lot about how people use Facebook during disasters and we were personally inspired to continue work on the Disaster Message Board to incorporate what we've learned."
Aftershocks are still rattling Nepal and seismologists have stated that there is still a very real and present danger in the region. Kathmandu's primary hospital is being overwhelmed and a large number or the city's residents have been displaced as a result of the earthquake.
For those looking to assist in the relief effort, here's a short round up of some of the charitable organizations that are actively working to provide assistance to the area: