Humanitarian efforts in times of natural disasters are often harmed due to the lack of transparency among the government and non-governmental relief providers. Blockchain quickly spins up a decentralized system of record which facilitates more effective aid to people affected by a natural disaster in a shorter span of time.
By establishing a shared system of record, an advanced disaster response can be gained, while addressing the challenges dealing with ownership of the record system, and sovereignty of the data. We need a swift and trustworthy alternative that would help in informing the other parties what is being needed and what resources are already available. Blockchain offers the concept of “pooling and sharing” to facilitate a disruptive approach to mobilize the resources of private and public organizations when any disaster strikes. The problem lies in the logistics management which should aim at better supervision so that resources are directed and delivered to the right places at the right time.
Raj Chowdhury, MD at US-based blockchain innovation company, HashCash says, ” Blockchain brings life-saving transparency during natural disasters, to humanitarian relief missions. Blockchain provides trusted and decentralized transparency globally, across healthcare providers, government officials, and community organizers to facilitate alignment of citizen’s demands for relief.”
In short, blockchain assists in bringing aid to where it is most needed. It provides an open source platform for everyone to contribute and access disaster relief data in real-time, so as to speed relief operations.
Disaster situation demands absolute transparency which is possible only through blockchain’s decentralized network and immutable nature.
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake affected Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti immensely on January, 2010. It is one of the most terrible humanitarian catastrophes recorded in the world history. More than 20 nations along with numerous non-governmental organizations moved to provide relief to the affected people, arranging recovery operations, offering medical aid and distributing water and food. Each relief party organized specific resources so as to combine their effort in a much more efficient way. Nonetheless, days later, United Nations confessed that the efficiency and the collaboration between the relief parties was hindered due to lack of proper communication channel and due to the utilization of unstructured database comprising of social media and emails.
This could have been avoided by the implementation of blockchain during the time of emergency. Situations dealing with disasters require real-time information exchange, complete transparency, and smooth interoperability- that can be only offered by blockchain.
Millions of people struggle when natural disasters strike. Though blockchain cannot prevent these occurrences, it can facilitate quick and effective relief services in a more coordinated manner