Startup Team Gathers Data on Typhoon Yolanda

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) battered the central Philippines with winds of up to 315 km/h. While Yolanda was destroying entire towns and cities, disaster information-app Tudlo was helping people keep updated on the disaster.

Latest data from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council puts the death toll from typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) at 3,621. The agency also said that a total of 9.07 million people were affected by the typhoon in nine regions in the Philippines.

While millions were being affected by typhoon Yolanda, this provided a good setting for the team behind Tudlo to test out their app. As part of their special effort during the disaster, the Tudlo team gathered information about the typhoon through a special site.

Tudlo’s Yolanda site was set up as a way to help rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the destructive typhoon. Many people around the world expressed their desire to help in the relief efforts following the disaster. A week after, the press is reporting that aid delivery has picked up its pace in Tacloban City in Leyte, one of the hardest-hit areas by the typhoon. Philippine President Aquino was quoted as saying that most roads are now passable and that these are used to deliver relief goods.

The team were still doing their job in crowdsourcing relevant info on casualties in the provinces affected by the typhooneven as one of their co-founders had to go home to his hometown in northern Cebu to help restore their home. Another still had no contact with his relatives in Leyte. Cebu and Leyte are two provinces that were in the path of the typhoon.

Typhoon Yolanda came at one of the worst times for central Philippines since a powerful earthquake just shook the region a few weeks before. The 7.2 quake had its epicentre in the province of Bohol. Over 200 people died in the province due to the earthquake with many more having lost their homes. The nearby province of Cebu was also affected by the temblor.

The Tudlo Disaster and Emergency App was one of the 10 winners of the annual Young Innovators’ Competition organized by the ITU Telecom World 2013. As a winner, the app’s founders will get to take part in an accelerator program. The winners will also compete for a cash prize worth up to $5,000 for great concepts and another $10,000 for innovative startups. Land-Sea Digital Bridge from Vietnam, a high-frequency digital radio communication system that seeks to connect fishing boats to a land-based station and Open Curricula from India, an online platform for K12 educational materials were the other two startups from Asia that were in the top 10 in the competition.

The Tudlo app promotes the sharing of critical information in the event of emergencies or disasters. Users get instant access to disaster warnings, advisories, and disaster maps. They also get step-by-step instructions if they find themselves in a disaster. The app is available on Google Play and the App Store.


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