Redwood City, CA and Cape Town, South Africa - Multiple organizations around the world--including Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, the Red Cross, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Habitat for Humanity, and the US Administration--are tapping in to the power and ubiquity of SMS services to provide support to the people of Haiti. From donating to charity via an SMS short code, to connecting with loved ones via an SMS missing person's service, to getting text alerts about the arrival of critical supplies and their corresponding distribution points, SMS is proving to be more disaster proof than alternative communications channels and technologies. Clickatell, global leader in high value messaging, with the ability to reach billions of people across more than 815 mobile operators, today announced the extension of its free SMS service to organizations providing aid to the people of Haiti.
Experts hail the "store and forward" nature of SMS, which means that SMS messages will be delivered as soon as there is even a "little" window of network coverage. In addition, the sheer ubiquity makes SMS the best choice when it comes to keeping the lines of communications open during emergency services and disaster relief efforts. Many organizations are using SMS services to communicate even as the capacity of networks are stretched thin; and, relief agencies are already reporting the fact that SMS services have strengthened relief efforts in a country where a large part of the infrastructure is in disarray.
"People in Haiti are showing tremendous courage and determination and we are seeing SMS play a significant role in scaling the efforts of the people on the ground and around the world. We invite relief agencies to make use of our SMS Gateway into Haiti and offer such services for the remainder of February as a small contribution on behalf of Clickatell and its staff," said Pieter de Villiers, Clickatell CEO.
There are a number of ways individuals and organizations can help: World Vision, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, UNICEF (1-800-4UNICEF), Direct Relief, Yele Haiti, Partners in Health, Red Cross, World Food Program, Mercy Corps (1-888-256-1900), Save the Children, Lambi Fund, Doctors Without Borders, The International Rescue Committee, Care, William J. Clinton Foundation, Meds & Food For Kids, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, Mayor's Fund for NYC, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD), Interaction.
Donations from US mobile phones can also be made by texting:
"Clickatell is extremely proud to be working with some of these organizations who are making a tremendous difference on the ground and we wish the People of Haiti all the best as they start to rebuild their lives," added de Villiers.
Able to reach more than 4 billion people, and often preferred over voice and email, SMS has been used for a variety of "life saving" connections. Most notably, Clickatell's real-time alert notification technology was utilized during the Hudson River Airplane Landing emergency last year, helping the US Coast Guard connect with other emergency response systems to alert the authorities of the event as it happened. Lives can be saved, first responders mobilized and people can be connected through SMS during critical times of disaster, such this tragedy in Haiti. Even when regions are experiencing low bandwidth overhead, SMS can still be delivered and received. Clickatell is trusted by highly regarded security companies like Entrust, RSA Data Security, several organizations within the US Government, large enterprises, and 10,000 small and medium businesses worldwide. Organizations will continue to use SMS services in new and innovative ways to reach people anywhere, any time.