In concurrence with the start of the 2014 Hurricane Season on June 1st, Hill 60 Bump held the digital launch of its new smartphone application, CaribWatch today, June3, 2014. The launch started with a Twitter chat from 1pm – 2pm, hosted by @OnCaribWatch, based on the theme ‘Caribbean Crisis Communication: The Digital Evolution’ and will be followed by a Google Hangout at 6pm, hosted by +CaribWatch, with representatives of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Salvation Army and the Caribbean Red Cross, to discuss how the application will impact future crisis communication efforts and the mobilisation of relief aid. You may participate in the live stream of the Google Hangout via http://bit.ly/caribwatchhangout. The tweets are available for perusal via the hashtag #CaribWatch.
Why CaribWatch is Needed
The Caribbean, while famous for being a tropical paradise, is also statistically among the most vulnerable regions in the world to the effects of climate change and natural hazards. The region has experienced a number of crisis events from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti as well as social emergencies which require management. Traditionally, people turned to radio and television media for critical alerts, however as a 2013 study by the University of San Francisco found, social media is replacing emergency numbers as the go-to for updates and assistance.
January 12-14, 2010: 2.3 Million Tweets containing the words ‘Haiti’ and ‘Red Cross’ after a devastating earthquake stuck.
March 11, 2011: 4.5 million Facebook status updates about the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
October 2012: At peak, Instagram users uploaded Hurricane Sandy related images at a rate of 10 per second
July 9, 2013: A Hill 60 Bump Facebook post about Tropical Storm Chantal targeted at Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent reached almost 100,000 Caribbean viewers in just one day.
CaribWatch is a system for sharing emergency and disaster alerts in the Caribbean via a free smartphone application and the supporting use of social media.Its purpose is to enable people throughout the Caribbean & its Diaspora to help each other in times of crisis, by providing a hub for information and a focal point for relief efforts.
The free CaribWatch smartphone application sends push alerts to mobile handsets with key emergency updates. It also runs a feed of current disaster related activities and allows for the easy sharing of content.
CaribWatch has active accounts on a number of social media platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn. The hashtag #CaribWatch is monitored across social media and shared as a curated feed of real time user generated content.
CaribWatch provides through its app and supporting website, a variety of key crisis information in collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). This varies from types of hazards and definitions of warning terms to preparedness tips and emergency contact information by country.
CaribWatch collaborates with major disaster relief agencies mainly the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to assist with the mobilization of post event relief through volunteer action as well as facilitating direct donations.
One of the main reasons Heather Pinnock, Caribbean sustainability advocate and director of Hill 60 Bump Ltd, conceptualized this application was to address the scramble for information that occurs during and after a crisis event. “Social media platforms are great for getting breaking news and key emergency alerts” she stated, “in times of crisis, when everything happens so rapidly, a reliable source of both official and on the ground information is critical – that is where CaribWatch comes in.”
CaribWatch is the must-have resource for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season which lasts from June 1st until November 30th. Download it for Android in the Google Play Store or for Apple devices in the iOS App Store. To pledge support for the application, register at bit.ly/caribwatch to share a social media status update on the day of the launch. Find more resources online at www.caribwatch.com or via your favorite social media. Remember to share your Caribbean emergency or disaster news, updates and photographs by using the #CaribWatch hashtag.
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CaribWatch Project Manager
1876 792 3385
Credit: Hill 60 Bump