Google urged to develop ‘Risk Finder’

April 30, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Loren Legarda urged Internet search engine Google to develop a “Google Risk Finder” similar to the Google Person Finder that helps people find missing persons during times of disasters.

Legarda, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Climate Change, said during her speech at Google’s Crisis Response Summit Wednesday that there should be an application that can easily display all possible geohazard risks, such as landslides, earthquakes, flooding, and storm surges in a certain area.

Prior to her speech, Google gave a workshop on the tools they have developed under the Crisis Response project such as Google Crisis Map, Person Finder, and Public Alerts that were used to gather and disseminate information in past disasters worldwide including Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).

“While we appreciate these tools, I hope that demand for their use is taken over instead by a growing demand for an application that informs and encourages proactive intervention by all sectors and early action by everyone, so if I may suggest if you could develop what I call the Google Risk Finder,” Legarda said in her keynote speech.

“The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) can help you because they have the complete risk vulnerabilities of every nook and cranny of the Philippines,” she said.

Legarda urged Google to utilize the multi-hazard maps and risk assessment of the MGB so they can have a basis in creating the Google Risk Finder.

“Fundamentally, building resilience requires a risk-informed population,” Legarda said.

“We could help our government sustain our country’s socio-economic gains … when perennial disaster losses are substantially reduced,” she said.

Such applications would also help government in planning for disaster citing past incidents where the government build a barangay hall in a geohazard area simply because they did not have the proper geohazard information of their locality.

Legarda said that prevention of potential disasters and preparation for unavoidable calamities will always be better than the best relief and recovery efforts that are launched after the disaster has already struck.