How Technology and Communication Can Aid in Pakistan Flood Relief

08/31/2010 02:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Over the last three weeks, we've all watched as the people and lands of Pakistan have been deluged by incessant monsoon rainfall, creating excessive flooding across the country. It has affected 20 million people, many of them only reachable by air. As a result of this flood, six million people need immediate aid, and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are suffering from the outbreak of water-borne diseases and the threat of cholera outbreak. The floodwaters have inundated and destroyed much of Pakistan's vast wheat crop, which is the country's largest homegrown food source, creating a food crisis in the country. Much of this -- sadly -- you already know.

However, what you may not know -- but can certainly imagine -- is the critical role information and communications technology (ICT) can play in expediting aid to those in need.

For the past 10 years, NetHope has played a key role in providing ICT solutions to some of the world's largest disasters. NetHope, along with our more than 30 international humanitarian agency member organizations are responding quickly to come to the aid of those in need in Pakistan. In a recent press release, John Holmes, the Emergency Relief Coordinator with the United Nations, said, "These unprecedented floods pose unprecedented logistical challenges, and this requires an extraordinary effort by the international community." Technology can play a major role in solving many of these logistical challenges including communications, the lifeblood of any response.

NetHope is supporting the relief effort by providing equipment and expertise to our 15 member NGOs operating in Pakistan, including communications, power and computing equipment. The ICT solutions we're providing enable members to more effectively perform situational assessments and to direct the subsequent delivery of aid and relief supplies.

In order to provide the humanitarian community with essential tools to speed delivery of food, water, shelter, healthcare and family reunification services to the people of Pakistan, NetHope requires immediate financial support. An estimated equivalent of $415,000 is needed to provide these lifesaving capabilities, which will provide NetHope member organizations with equipment such as laptop computers, printers, scanners, hard drives, solar cell phones and digital cameras. Providing this ICT technology will have a significant impact on the emergency relief efforts already underway in Pakistan. Learn more about how you can contribute at