Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Volunteer for the Phillipines Disaster Response

The LLU is known as a global hub for all aspects of health. Our Public Health Disaster Assistance and Relief Team (PH DART) exists to respond to these types of disasters. Our team is now working with ADRA international to conduct a rapid needs assessment on water and sanitation, logistics, and shelter among other topics in select regions of the Philippines. I believe that we have the institutional responsibility to respond to disasters of this magnitude and we have devoted effort to a relevant response.

We realize that there are now many ways to volunteer for the present disaster in the Philippines. Donations are the obvious choice, but the types of social media and crowdsourcing is now also evolving. Tweets and Facebook entries are now the most common type of crowdsourcing, but often not organized into any central repository that can be used by agents on the ground.  There are now new efforts towards "crowd-crafting" those first-person entries. That "crowdcrafting"  is organized by a new handful of volunteer groups to stand-by and organize the random assortment of tweets, blog posts and facebook entries. A new way to volunteer is to start collaborating online with these groups.  See the TedX talk below.

The Stand By Task Force (SBTF):
A way to organize tweets and make them relevant. They have a defined time span deployment-style response to disasters. You can sign up and when a need is there, they will open the cycle for you to contribute.

Citizen Cyberscience Center

Humanitarian Open Street Map (H.O.T.)
This is a volunteer service that provides agents on the ground in the Philippines with map data. Its a useful URL to find detailed maps and they also collaborate with the SBTF.

Crowd Crafting
This site works with the SBTF.  Go to the micromappers site to join the list serve.

Some other ways for LLU folk to volunteer:

Translators Without Borders

Statistics without Borders 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Best crowdsourcing for the Typhoon

After a morning of searching, I see the the google crisis map as a good solution; there are many other crowdsourced maps that have popped up in the last week. Relief workers should have staff monitoring these for relevant entries to their area of concern.

The google crisis map allows you to upload data or datasets by using a questionnaire available here. This is organized in Google's Crisis Response group. There is also a Typhoon Yolanda people finder that is very useful.

The Philippines government crowdsourcing data and GIS data

The Philippines government crowdsourced GIS data server

The Google site obtains much of its data from ESRI here:

The ESRI hosted crowdsourcing map

The openstreet map crowdsourced data map and map resources

The Philippines government website with many useful PDFs and updated factsheets


Also see the UN OCHA: Office for coordination of humanitarian affairs:

See the Stand by task force:

The University of Heidelberg

In choosing which site to check first, I  look for the following:

  • How simple it is to upload something
  • How the website validates that the problem actually exists
  • How the website is updated when the crisis resolves
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Donate to Typhoon Haiyan without admin costs!

    The Water Charity allows you to donate to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief effort:
    You can donate knowing that all of your donation is going towards the actual purchase of filters to provide drinking water.

    They already have partners on the ground who are distributing the filters. They are working with ADRA, Sawyer water filters and many other partners.

    Click here:


    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    A Christian's Global Stewardship and Duty for Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

    I'm giving a presentation today in our annual faculty meeting/retreat.  The title is "A Christian's Global Stewardship and Duty for Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene".  You can see the presentation on prezi here:

    Some points that I want to make are the following:

    • I am not aware of ANY department, program, school, curriculum etc at any school in any country which focuses on water and sanitation from a christian perspective to water and sanitation. 
    • The Loma Linda University School of Public Health is in a prime position to have an academic program on water and sanitation from a religion perspective.  

    We are in this prime position because:

    • We are re-energizing and re-designing our School of Public Health
    • We recognize our strength as  a religious school of Public Health
    • There are MANY Christian NGOs with WASH as a top priority
    • WASH and Tropical Medicine represents the beginning of public health at this school
    • MANY students are in the market for a graduate education in Global WASH public health

    I say "religion" because WASH theory, hypotheses and other academic perspectives on water, sanitation, and hygiene are from Islamist, Hindu, then Christian traditions.

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013


    I'm a bicycle commuter. I would rather ride a bike than take a bus or drive a car.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013


    Here is a re-post of a blog I recently discovered: "Why evolution is true".  Only Turkey is lower in belief of evolution.

    This was from the water wired blog

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Floods happen first in the desert

    If the sea level increased by 2 meters, there would be serious problems in Long Beach and other coastal communities. The desert would have a similar problem. ALL of the Eastern Coachella Valley would flood. This is according to a new web resource posted here: 
    This is probably based on elevation modeling alone, but is still relevant. What happens in Bangladesh is troubling, but think of what happens at home.  The Laguna Salada would be filled by the Sea of Cortez. Everything south of Indio would be in serious trouble. All of the agricultural production in this zone and in Yuma would be in trouble. What are the implications for food supply?
    I remember this shocking revelation during Katrina in New Orleans. The disadvantaged communities of New Orleans were inconveniently located in the flood zone. The disadvantaged communities of Eastern Coachella and Imperial would be impacted first.