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RideLondon 100 bike ride for MapAction

5 Feb, UK - Be part of something amazing this August. You can test your cycling prowess with the best of them on the 100-mile route made famous by the London 2012 Olympic road race.

Lucy took part in the event last year: “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.”

Date: 10 August 2014

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

Registration fee: £50. This contributes to the cost of your place and your MapAction cycling top.

Minimum sponsorship: £500, but don’t worry – we will support you with fundraising help and advice.

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 9 hours.

What do you get for your money?

  • A branded MapAction cycling top
  • A dedicated point of contact to support you with your fundraising
  • A support team to help you on the day
  • Well-earned refreshments and a massage to welcome you at the end
  • 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.

Places are limited, so to register your interest, please complete this quick form:

 
MapAction deploys to South Sudan

Juba, 24 Jan – MapAction has deployed two mapping experts to South Sudan at the request of the United Nations.

Wide-spreading fighting has extended across the country, affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians.  The crisis is exacerbating what was already a challenging humanitarian situation, with 4.4 million people requiring humanitarian assistance prior to recent violence.

According to United Nations’ statistics, an estimated 413,000 people have been internally displaced as a result and over 74,000 more have fled to neighbouring countries (as of 14 January). Aid agencies believe that the number of internally displaced people could be much higher, as insecurity and logistical constraints have prevented relief workers from travelling outside towns.

New pockets of displacement are being reported daily, making it a very difficult environment for aid agencies to plan and implement their response.

MapAction’s mapping experts will be working in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other humanitarian responders to help assess the humanitarian impact of the violence and aid priorities. In particular, they will create a common operational picture of the locations and needs of displaced people.

South Sudan Map Catalogue

Sign here for South Sudan map alerts

 
The SNAP team explains the aim of the project

UK, 23 Jan - Since December 2012, MapAction has been partnering with ACAPS (Assessment Capabilities Project) to assess the needs of affected communities and develop possible future scenarios, based on what we currently know.

The aim of this collaboration is to equip humanitarian responders and donors with accurate, timely information, so their response can be as targeted and effective as possible. Our collaborative effort is known as the Syria Needs Assessment Project or “SNAP”. You can find out more about this activity by watching this short video prepared by ACAPS.

All the SNAP products can be found here - Syria Resources

 
OBE for former CEO

UK, 6 Jan - Nigel Woof has received an OBE in the New Years Honours List for Humanitarian Services as Chief Executive of MapAction.  Nigel joined MapAction, the Buckinghamshire based charity, as a volunteer in April 2003 and quickly showed special talents during early deployments to Sri Lanka for the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. He became the Operations Director in 2007 and then Chief Executive in 2009.

Nigel has shown an exceptional understanding of relief needs in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and the initiative and ability to devise and produce a variety of maps to provide a “common operational picture” which plays a major part in coordinating the many UN and international organisations involved in the response.  His leadership and organisation has been a significant factor in the service delivered by the MapAction team.

Although he handed over his role as Chief Executive in January 2013 he remains a very active MapAction volunteer and has just returned from the Philippines where he, along with other MapAction volunteers, prepared information maps to assist the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team in the aftermath of one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the Philippines.

Nigel’s immediate reaction:

"It's exciting of course, but also humbling to be singled out. Really the award should be for the whole MapAction team, most of them volunteers and all amazing people, to recognise their joint endeavour in so many disasters over the past decade. I'll also be raising a New Year's glass to all the unsung heroes in humanitarian aid agencies we've worked with across the world, whose collective commitment never stops."

 
MapAction concludes its mission to the Philippines

Philippines, 18 Dec - MapAction has concluded its final rotation of people to the Philippines to provide mapping support to the humanitarian response after six weeks and nearly two hundred mission days. Fifteen of MapAction’s volunteers generously gave their time to assist based initially in Manila and then in Tacloban, one of the worst affected areas. Unusually for MapAction, each team consisted of four to five people for the majority of the mission demonstrating the extent of need for mapped analysis.  MapAction provided detailed information to Region VIII (in which Tacloban is located) and in parallel, provided overview information to the humanitarian community.

Initially producing reference maps and situational analysis maps, and working on sharing data with other information management providers, MapAction introduced an automated three W mapping series building on the manual system previously used. These maps describe Who, What, Where of the humanitarian response for each sector in every district (seventeen districts and eleven sectors in total).  This series, the first of its kind for MapAction was updated twice a week generating several hundred maps a week. In addition maps for cash programming  (including the distribution of market assessments) and the demographics of the affected population have been produced indicating the move from the life saving and immediate relief distribution activities of the earliest stages of an emergency to the recovery and vulnerability targeting activities of the next stage of the response.  

MapAction is currently completing its monitoring and evaluation process and will undertake an internal lessons learned exercise with its team in January.  A report will be available on the website in February.

MapAction thanks the employers who willingly released their staff at very short notice to form the team of professional volunteers MapAction deployed to the Philippines humanitarian response.

There are benefits potentially both ways.  As one employer said,

"This has been probably the most motivating thing for my team all year. Just knowing that in a small way we were helping to get Darren there we felt part of it too. This year, we specifically worked at getting the work he does for Argyll manageable so that he could be deployed at short notice, plus Landmark HR really came through with offering time off."

Jez Nicholson, Argyll Environmental

Without this support MapAction could not do what it does. We are grateful to: Argyll Environmental, Calesurvey, Environment Agency, EPA (Environmental Protection AgencyESRI UK, Exprodat, Harrow Council,  Landmark Information Group, Sinclair Knight Merz, Sustain, UwArc (Underwater Archaeology).

 
Reflections on Haiyan

Philippines, 16 Dec - An update from MapAction Operations Director, Jonny Douch who deployed early in the emergency.

On 7 November MapAction deployed to the Philippines, the day before Typhoon Haiyan struck. Although we all knew it was likely to affect vulnerable communities, none of us could have predicted the scale of the devastation that followed.

Photo right: Survivors of the storm arrive in Manila on a US military C130. Every plane out of Tacloban was full of people leaving the city

It soon emerged that the area that had borne the brunt of the typhoon was around Tacloban City. I headed there amongst the cargo in a US military plane to assess how and where MapAction could help most. I arrived in the dark.

Photo left: Jonny, Operations Director flying amongst the cargo in the first available flight to Tacloban

The scene that greeted me was like something out of a disaster movie. The terminal building had been smashed by a massive wave that had carried off everyone who was trying to get a flight out. All was dark confusion. The noise from the planes made it all but impossible to hear and phone calls virtually impossible.

As we headed into the city, the car headlights lit up a shattered landscape where the storm surge had swept through. Everything was still now. It was an eerie scene, with just a few lonely soldiers at the road blocks to wave us past. It was impossible to see how anybody could have survived here. Bodies were still being recovered from the debris; body bags lined the side of the road awaiting collection.

My first task in Tacloban was to set up MapAction’s base within the United Nations’ coordination centre, where responders would come for the latest information to coordinate relief efforts. It was particularly poignant to reflect on the fact that most of the local people we were working with had lost friends or family. Although you try not to think of these things while you’re there, when you get home you have time to reflect on the immense loss you have witnessed.

The number of organisations arriving was increasing every day, all hungry for the sort of information MapAction was there to provide. The demands on our team were extreme. By the end of this mission, we will have deployed 15 mapping experts, who will have together contributed over 30 weeks of work. We will have produced well over 1,000 different mapped products, which will have been distributed to thousands of responders via web and printed copies. These figures don’t include the efforts our non-deployed volunteers, who have provided unfaltering support throughout– many of whom have taken time off their day jobs to devote their full-time attention to supporting our field team.



1 and 2: United Nations’ On Site Operations and Coordination Centre, a tent inside a roofless building

3: The tents where MapAction set up home

4: Standing up: Inter-agency coordination meeting
5. A scene from the roadside


When I returned to Tacloban airport, two weeks had passed since the typhoon had struck. It was daylight. Although if anything the destruction was clearer by day, life was reclaiming the land again. Everywhere people were busy clearing up and bringing order to the chaos.

Photo above: the road to the airport

The airport was now functioning well, although it was a surreal experience to check in and go through security amidst the destruction. Passengers sat in a departure lounge with no wall and just umbrellas to protect from them the rain. We placed our hands over our ears to block out the noise from the military planes delivering aid.

The determination of the staff and passengers to make it work was a moving sight – surely a sign that although the people of the Philippines may never forget Typhoon Haiyan, their remarkable courage and resilience will help them recover from this terrible storm.


Photos above: Normal service resumes at Tacloban airport




 
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