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How can we use our technology to help the victims of hurricane Katrina?

Listen to the podcast: Katrina - What can we do?


I looked at a few minutes of New Orleans video early today, but could only take so much. The utter helplessness of the people stuck in and on isolated buildings, and even vehicles, due to the flooding, left me wondering ... what can I do? What can we, the technologically savvy inhabitants of the internet do in the time of a crisis such as that caused by hurricane Katrina?

The answer, of course, varies depending on our own resources.

Some of us can donate money. Though I encourage you to use the internet for a little research first. Make sure your money is going to be used for what you intend, and not to some unrelated efforts.

Some of us can donate our skills. I've had several emails cross my inbox already calling for personnel trained in certain areas who may be willing to go to the affected area. If you are such a person, look for, and coordinate carefully with those organizations. Realize that they are swamped, and you shouldn't just show up.

Some of us can donate our knowledge. Just like there are looters in downtown New Orleans, there are looters on the internet. Look for a very quick round of fake charities, please for help, and no doubt, the infamous Nigerian scam retooled for the specifics of this disaster. Help educate those around you to think before they act.

Some of us can back-fill in our local communities. I'm on the board of a local non-profit human services agency, and I can tell you that when disasters happen, people are affected in your own community as well. If nothing else, the money that goes to the national or remote relief effort is often shifted from the local economy, directly impacting the people in your neighborhoods.

But it seems like there should be more, doesn't it? With all this technology we have and use and love to talk about, shouldn't we be able to help more?

How do you see us using all of our exciting technology helping?

How else can we help?

Please add your ideas in the comments for this podcast. Visit, and enter 9111 in the go to article number box. Leave a comment - let me know what you think, I'd love to hear from you.

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Article C2414 - August 31, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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