Gething, P.W. and Tatem, A.J.
Can mobile phone data improve emergency response to natural disasters?
PLoS Medicine, 8, (8), . (doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001085). (PMID:21918644).
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Disaster management requires accurate information and must link data collection and analysis to an immediate decision-making process. Existing approaches to assessing population movements in the immediate aftermath of disasters, such as transport surveys and manual registration of individuals at emergency-relief hubs, are often inadequate: while important for record-keeping purposes, both are slow and may exclude those groups who are unreachable and most vulnerable. Proxy analysis via aerial or even satellite reconnaissance has a potentially useful role, but can provide only a coarse geographical picture of moving populations. In practice, the most readily available sources of information are from eye-witness or media reports. Although timely, such reports are not accumulated systematically and can constitute a biased representation of events.
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