Two global social media giants acted quickly to render aid to the victims of Saturday’s killer earthquake in Nepal while a little known translation service vowed to eliminate language as a barrier for rescue workers.
Google has an impressive record of deploying its Person Finder tool in the wake of natural disasters, like Saturday’s killer earthquake in Nepal.
Facebook, too, demonstrated its global scale and hyper-local reach through its new Safety Check application, which texts Facebook users in disaster-stricken regions to determine if they are safe and then shares their status with friends online.
“When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe,” founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Saturday. “It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters.”
A decidedly smaller business, the Washington-based translation provider, One Hour Translation, was quick to issue a press release dropping its fees for translations that rescue and aid workers could use on the ground in Nepal. Among the verbiage likely to be translated into Nepali and other regional languages are flyers and printed instructions for the hundreds of thousands displaced by the earthquake.
“In every instance the company has made this offer, we’ve had 15 to 25 requests for translation services,” said One Hour Translation spokesman Aaron Kliner, adding the company waived its fees after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the 2013 Philippines typhoon.
While the weekend timing of the Kathmandu earthquake meant that CSR and corporate communications teams were not at work in the United States, responses began quickly on Monday, first from U.S.-based telecommunications providers.
Verizon announced it would both waive texting and calling charges to Nepal, as well as matching employee donations to disaster response agencies American Red Cross and World Vision.
Free calling to Nepal was also put into place by Time Warner Cable, Microsoft’s Skype unit and Vonage, among others.
Among other corporate responses were announcements Metlife, TD Bank, Panasonic, Lifeway Foods and others of large donations to nonprofit agencies providing aid in Nepal, and increased matching-gift progams designed to get employees to donate.
United Airlines appealed to members of its MileagePlus program to donate, pledging incentives of up to 5 million miles.
Among nonprofit organizations mounting an early and targeted response was Global Impact, which established the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. Global Impact charity partners providing quake response include AmeriCares, CARE, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières USA, Heifer International, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran World Relief, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), Save the Children, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and World Vision.
Expect to see additional initiatives in the days ahead.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center scheduled a Wednesday conference call for officials from donor companies, corporate foundations, local chambers of commerce, humanitarian aid organizations and media.
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