Google Offers Disaster Relief Page for the Philippines

Metro Manila is still reeling from the effects of torrential downpours that left 90% of the capital — and surrounding regions — under flood. While government agencies and private rescuers are offering rescue and relief operations, online companies are also pitching in.

Residents carry their belongings as they walk back to their homes along a flooded area in Marikina City, east of Manila, Philippines, Wednesday Aug. 8, 2012. Widespread flooding battered a million others and paralyzed the Philippine capital began to ease Wednesday as cleanup and rescue efforts focused on a large number of distressed residents, some still marooned on their roofs. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Google, for one, has launched its Crisis Response page, which helps Filipinos in various ways. The Crisis Response page displays hotlines to rescue teams and government agencies coordinating relief efforts. Meanwhile, Person Finder also helps displaced individuals find family members and relatives who may have been separated in rescue and evacuation efforts.

Google lets website owners embed the person finder into their sites to help in easy coordination efforts.

Meanwhile, major telcos are also offering free calling stations that let individuals in evacuation centers inform relatives of their status. Both Smart and Globe offer free emergency texting services to prepaid users out of load credits.

Smart offers three free SMS and one free call to a Smart number by dialing *767. Smart users can also send “collect” messages by sending the SMS to 44+11 digit phone number.

Globe, meanwhile, offers three free SMS messages, too. Simply text GTSOS to 3733 (FREE). Credits will then be deducted from the succeeding top-up. Globe also offers collect texting service using the 2354 prefix plus the 11-digit mobile number.

These are actually standard services or promos already running before the crisis.

Netizens are also offering help in coordinating efforts. Technoodling advises to use hashtags such as #reliefPH, #rescuePH and #floodsPH to unify social networking messages.

Also, since this particular weather disturbance does not have a name like 2009’s typhoond “Ondoy” netizens are dubbing it “Rainfall Leo 2012” and have setup a resource on Google Pages.