Within the span of half a decade, the Philippines has been in dead center many natural calamities ranging from storms to earthquakes. During last year’s catastrophic Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), over four million people have been displaced and countless are still considered missing.
With regard to this, Smart, Ericsson, and REFUNITE have joined forces to launch a new family tracing and reconnection service. Simply tagged REFUNITE (www.refunite.org), the SMS-based mobile and web platform aims to give hope to Filipino families separated by Yolanda. By the end of 2014, survivors will be able to search and communicate with their loved ones, and the rest of the country will be able to enjoy the security of knowing that there is always a means to get and stay connected, even in times of emergency.
Smart will spearhead its awareness campaign starting in Tacloban City, the hardest hit area of Typhoon Yolanda.
Orlando B. Vea, Chief Wireless Advisor of Smart, says: “This is an innovative mobile service that is very relevant to the challenges that we face in the Philippines. Every year, natural and man-made disasters displace people and separate family members. An SMS-based service that enables people to search for their missing loved ones will be very useful. That is why we are happy to work with our partners to bring this service to the Philippines.”
“Everyone has the right to know where their family is.” Christopher Mikkelsen, co-founder of REFUNITE, adds. ”The Philippines experiences around 20 typhoons each year. Our goal is to leverage new technology to bring separated families back in touch.”
“We continue to seek new ways to leverage technology for good,” concludes Sam Saba, Ericsson Head of the Southeast Asia and Oceania region. “This new partnership will aid the displaced Filipino population, and bring them closer to their goal of reconnecting with lost loved ones.”