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Disaster Relief: How an Information Line Can Help You Prepare for the Chaos

Tuesday November 22, 2016

In a disastrous situation, the number one commodity is information – whether you are a member of the population needing access to essential food, shelter, and first aid, or whether you are an official trying to assess how well these essentials are being provided. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Vocantas launched an IVR solution in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross to provide vital information to Haitians.

The IVR enabled Haitian residents to access information on critical issues such as shelter, health, family planning and disaster preparedness. The interactive inbound call was also able to conduct anonymous surveys, gathering information on peoples’ needs and opinions. An initial survey monitored respondents’ experience of violence in Haiti, providing important information that the Red Cross and others used to help improve personal security. Vocantas worked closely with the IFRC to provide an interactive communication solution that has taken millions of calls to date from Haitians seeking life-saving information. These phone calls help Haitians connect with shelters, report abuse, get healthcare information and survey the effectiveness of the local Red Cross efforts.

For effective disaster relief, a solution like Vocantas’ interactive voice response information line, is critical to keep the population informed; and for maximum effectiveness, it must be implemented before disaster strikes. Panic and poor decision-making can be significantly reduced if the population knows right away how to get access to critical information, such as where to find food and shelter. Vocantas also offers an Interactive Emergency Broadcast Notification System (I-EBNS) that can send specific instructions to select groups, such as volunteers or employees, and request that each recipient confirms that they have received and understood the message.

Disaster relief is always chaotic; but with accessible lines of communication in place to handle routine inquiries – for example access to shelter, food, and first aid, as well as news updates – responders can focus on complex issues, knowing that the majority of critical inquiries will be handled by the automated information line

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