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Administrator Fugate challenged the participants to produce a solution that would allow individuals to create a dynamic, cross platform family emergency communications plan and invited the team that best tackled his challenge to come to Washington, DC in february to present the new tool to a meeting of state Emergency Managers.

Family emergency communications plans are key to empowering individuals to take control and locate their loved ones during a disaster that may impact traditional means of communication.

News Release


November 13, 2009
No.: HQ-09-140
Contact: FEMA News Desk
Number: 202-646-3272

Event Brings Together Top Programmers to Develop Solutions to Disaster Relief Challenges

WASHINGTON – FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate today keynoted the inaugural Random Hacks of Kindness, Disaster Relief Codejam (RHoK). RHoK is an initiative, sponsored by industry leaders such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! in conjunction with NASA and the World Bank that brings together disaster relief experts and software engineers to work on identifying key challenges to disaster relief, and developing solutions to these critical issues.

“FEMA is only one part of the national emergency management team and today’s event was an extremely valuable opportunity to engage another important part of our team,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, “From improving family emergency communications, to enabling first responders to make decisions faster, these technology experts hold a key to making our national emergency management team stronger.”

Today’s meeting between top tech representatives and FEMA is only the latest in a concerted effort by the FEMA Administrator to engage the technology sector as a critical component of the national emergency management team.  Fugate previously has met with representatives at Microsoft, Google, and industry representative TechNet.   

The two day “codejam” began today with top programmers from across the country coming together in an attempt to solve predefined problems identified by disaster relief experts and the programmers themselves.  Administrator Fugate himself challenged the programmers to come up with an easy way for families to put together emergency communications plans online.

You can find updates on the Random Hacks of Kindness by searching #RHoK.  You can also find out more about FEMA’s efforts to engage the entire national emergency management team by following FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on twitter at “CraigatFEMA” or by following the FEMA feed at “FEMAinfocus”.  You can also get the latest updates at or

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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NASA Ames Co-hosts "Random Hacks of Kindness" Developer Community

Date Released: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Source: Ames Research Center


MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - News media and the public are invited to witness the first step in building a global community dedicated to solving disaster relief challenges through technology Thursday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at the Hacker Dojo, 140 South Whisman Road, Mountain View, Calif.

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is an initiative to bring together experts and software engineers to identify key challenges and develop solutions. At this RHoK coding competition, or hackathon, programmers will partner with disaster relief experts to tackle critical issues in a limited amount of time. Participants will develop technology to mitigate disaster and crisis challenges. Some of these technologies include customizable aerial imagery tools, using mobile devices to locate missing, displaced or injured people and location-based time-stamped incident reports.

The software created during the competition will be shared, so that it may continue to be developed at subsequent RHoK events and evolve in response to the needs of the disaster relief community.

The first-ever Crisis Camp, an open, user-generated conference with participatory workshop events, was held in Washington June 12-14, 2009, where an industry panel with representatives from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! recognized that crisis management supersedes competitive concerns. Collectively, they agreed to mobilize their developer communities to create interoperable solutions that will have an impact. The partnership grew to include NASA and The World Bank. NASA provides support from the Innovative Partnership Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in order to enhance and enable development and reconstruction efforts to share information, access timely data, and collaborate to solve social and environmental challenges.

WHAT: An opportunity to witness the first step in building a global community dedicated to solving disaster relief challenges through technology.

WHEN: 6 p.m. PST, Thursday, Nov. 12 to 5 p.m. PST, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. An abridged schedule is below (all times PST):

Thursday, Nov. 12
- 6 p.m.: Meet and Greet

Friday, Nov. 13
- 8 a.m.: Doors open
- 9:30 a.m.: Opening announcements
- 9:45 a.m.: Keynote address, Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- 10:30 a.m.: Break
- 10:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Software discussions

Saturday, Nov. 14
- 2 p.m.: Software team presentations
- 3:30 p.m.: Judges select top solutions
- 4 p.m.: Awards ceremony

WHERE: Hacker Dojo, 140 South Whisman Road, Mountain View, Calif.

WHO: Open source
programmers, disaster response experts, judges from NASA, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google and The World Bank.

For information about the Random Hacks of Kindness event and to register, visit:

For more information about NASA and its programs, visit:


The World Bank
Media Contact: In Washington, D.C.
Maria Alexandra Velez
Phone: + 1 202 458 8789

World Bank Partners in Disaster Management Hackathon

SAN FRANCISCO, November 12, 2009 –The World Bank, supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction
and Recovery (GFDRR), Google, Microsoft, NASA and Yahoo! launched today a hackathon event where
programmers and coders from Silicon Valley and around the globe will get together to develop practical software
solutions for disaster response and assessment.

Over the course of two days, 150 programmers will convene at the Hacker Dojo Community Center in San
Francisco to work with international first responders and disaster risk management experts to develop software
solutions to priority areas in the disaster response field.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the World Bank to partner with software development leaders from the private
sector to generate public goods,” said Christian Delvoie, World Bank Director for Knowledge and Strategy. “We
see the Random Hacks of Kindness event in Silicon Valley as the first step in building a community that will
generate innovative solutions to support sustainable development,” he added.

Coined “Random Hacks of Kindness” (RHoK) to indicate the open source and free nature of the coding, this is the
first of a series of “give camps” that will be held around the globe over the next couple of years.

The inaugural RHoK event in San Francisco focuses on a series of project definitions that have been outlined by
subject matter experts prior to the event. Examples include: creating a system to submit found or missing people
reports; programmatically being able to determine the trustworthiness of crowd sourced data points; a live
update Triage map; and a people-finder mobile-device upload, confirmation, comment, and inquiry system. The
software created at this first event will continue to be developed at subsequent RHoK events.

“Through our Yahoo! for Good initiative, we are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources, technical
expertise and good fortune with our community and the world,” said Meg Garlinghouse, Senior Director of Yahoo!
For Good. “Yahoo! is thrilled to be a part of the RHoK effort, and extend our technical knowledge and expertise to
create a developer community committed to tackling critical disaster relief issues,” she added.


For more information on the event, please visit:
For more information on the World Bank’s work on Disaster Risk Management, please visit:
For more information on the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR,) please

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World Bank Press Release  372k v. 1 Nov 13, 2009, 9:04 AM Emma Phillips