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MapAction mobilises for Chile floods

Santiago, 27 Mar – MapAction is sending a team of two volunteers at the request of the United Nations and Government of Chile in response to severe flooding in the north of the country.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Atacama and Antofagasta regions where two people have already died and twenty-two are missing. Over 40,000 people are reported to be without drinking water and 53,500 without electricity. People have been asked to self-evacuate. Further heavy rainfall is likely to make conditions even worse. The United Nations team will help with needs and damage assessments.

In the meantime MapAction has also sent a second rotation of personnel to Vanuatu to finalise the organisation’s support there and handover to the United Nations and national mapping focal points.

 
Rise to the challenge of RideLondon 100

UK, 17 Mar - DEADLINE EXTENDED.....This August test your cycling prowess with the best of them on the 100-mile route made famous by the London 2012 Olympic road race.


The atmosphere on the day was electric. It was such an inspiring experience and wonderful to know I was raising money for such an important cause.” Lucy, past RideLondon participant

Why not apply for a MapAction place for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey event today?

Date: Sunday 2 August 2015

Location: The event starts in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and follows a 100-mile route on closed roads through London and into the spectacular Surrey countryside.

Registration fee: £50

Minimum sponsorship: £500

Difficulty level: People of all abilities are welcome, but please be aware that the route involves some challenging hill climbs. Participants are expected to complete the 100-mile route within 8.5 hours.

What support do you get?

  • A dedicated point of contact to help you with your fundraising
  • A support team on the day
  • Well-earned refreshments and a massage to welcome you at the end
  • A branded MapAction cycling top once you've raised over £200
  • The knowledge that your fundraising efforts will help deliver our emergency mapping service to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.

How to apply: Please complete our short online application form below to register your interest. The deadline for applications has been extended to Monday 13 April 2015. We will let you know if you've been successful shortly after this date.

Got your own place? We'd love to welcome you to Team MapAction! There is no minimum sponsorship, but if you raise over £200 you too can earn one of our stylish MapAction cycling tops! For more information, please contact Chloe on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01494 56 88 99.


 
Mission to Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam


Port Vila, 14 Mar – MapAction is sending two personnel to Vanuatu to help coordinate the response to Cyclone Pam, which struck the South Pacific islands on Friday. The team will be working in partnership with the United Nations’ Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams and the National Disaster Management Office to map the needs of affected communities and help coordinate the response.

Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu late on Friday night and has caused widespread devastation to homes and livelihoods. The United Nations has described the impact as “catastrophic”.

In particular there are concerns about communities on outlying southern islands, with which communication has been cut. These islands are home to more than 33,000 people and typically have less developed infrastructure. Fears have been raised that communities will have struggled to find adequate shelter to withstand a storm of this magnitude.

This is MapAction’s first emergency deployment to Vanuatu, however the charity has extensive experience of responding to major weather-related emergencies, including the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in 2013.



 
Follow-on deployment to Malawi floods

Lilongwe, 6 Feb – Following our recent deployment to Malawi, MapAction has been requested to send another rotation of mapping specialists to help create a common operational picture of national needs in relation to the ongoing flood emergency.


The MapAction team will be working in partnership with the United Nations’ Information Management team in Lilongwe to help clean, verify and compile accurate data about the national response. They will in particular be responsible for creating mapped analysis and infographics to support key decision-making.  Within this, MapAction will play an important role in helping to coordinate how information is shared between field teams and the main coordination centre.


According to the latest reports (4 February) from the United Nations’ Disaster Assessment and Coordination team in Malawi, over 1 million people have been affected by the floods of whom 336,000 have been displaced and are having to find shelter in temporary camps or with host families. At least 104 people are thought to have died.

 
Responding to floods in Malawi

Lilongwe, 16 Jan – MapAction has sent two volunteers and one staff member to Malawi at the request of the United Nations and Malawi government to assist with the response to severe flooding.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 70,000 people have been displaced and 48 killed by extensive floods caused by recent heavy rain (as of 14 January). The floods have also caused widespread damage to crops, livestock and infrastructure. Initial assessments indicate that the southern districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe and Zomba have been particularly badly affected.

It is anticipated that MapAction’s volunteers will work within the UN’s central coordination hub in Lilongwe, but they may also travel to affected areas to assist with assessments. The charity’s Technical Director, Andy Smith, is joining the volunteer team to support the first use of MapAction’s new web mapping capability in a live emergency following extensive development and testing in scenario training situations.

The President of the Republic of Malawi has declared a State of Emergency in the 15 affected districts and appealed to the international community for assistance in search-and-rescue expertise, as well as the provision of tents, food and non-food items.

This is MapAction’s first emergency deployment to Malawi, however the charity provided training in GIS and GPS* for disaster response for Malawian government agencies in 2008. Malawi is also one of the focus countries for MapAction’s preparedness activities – Resilient Action for Mapping Preparedness (RAMP). These earlier preparations have resulted in much quicker access to relevant data to support this emergency response. You can read more on RAMP here.

* GIS – Geographical Information Systems / GPS – Global Positioning System

 
Our volunteers in action - Mali and Ghana

West Africa, 22 Dec - Two volunteers have been in action in West Africa recently helping with the efforts against Ebola - Alan Mills in Mali and KirstyFerris in Ghana. 

The Mali government asked for international assistance to prepare for the possibility of a widening Ebola outbreak after six people were infected, one of them the person who had brought the virus from Guinea. Alan joined the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team already there. He reports that the mission was about understanding the priorities for information management in Ebola preparedness, identifying what was already in place and  clarifying requirements in response to a possible further outbreak. One aspect of this included documenting all available relevant data and establishing a framework for the place codes and typical mapping we produce to clarify gaps in response. MapAction has now been asked to send a consolidation mission to Mali and it is likely that a volunteer will depart on 10 January. Alan says "Bamako will be very hot in January but it's an interesting city and there's good will from the Malians and their international partners here to co-operate and build something strong." The Mali government is establishing an Ebola Operations Centre, which could be used for other emergencies. 

Alan coordinates our Resilient Action for Mapping Preparedness project (RAMP) that started with a pilot in Southern Africa in 2012. The project aims to develop the capacity for mapping preparedness within government bodies responsible for emergency response and is targeted at countries with a high likelihood of disasters. It aims to improve their information management by providing tools, guidelines and training in collaboration with agencies; technical, GIS and information specialists. To reinforce whatever we do we have identified the need to work with intermediary organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Caribbean and are in discussion with the World Food Programme in Asia Pacific. 

Liz Hughes, chief executive of MapAction says, "The Mali mission has given us the opportunity to apply the methodology of our RAMP project and demonstrate the value of preparedness work." 

In Ghana, Kirsty Ferris has just completed a two-week volunteer mission working with the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response Mission (UNMEER), working to strengthen the data management structure for the regional response to the crisis. UNMEER is tasked to provide leadership and coordination in collaboration with the host governments across all three of the most affected countries. Kirsty followed Darren Connaghan's one month paid mission; when he began the information management structure was minimal and required considerable coordination with many information management specialists across the region. This is the first time in recent years that MapAction has been involved in a regional mission at this level. 

 
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