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How Technology Helped Out During Hurricane Sandy

The massive storm nicknamed Sandy pummeled through large swathes of the East Coast that led to citywide shutdowns, ordered evacuations, and a lot of other compromising situations. Still, it can’t be denied that technology played a big part in mitigating some of the dangers and challenges brought forth by this natural crisis. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Airbnb partners with NYC to provide hurricane relief

Airbnb recently partnered with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help those displaced by super storm Sandy find their much needed housing. A lot of members have offered to host places to stay for those affected, and no sooner, the online travel rental money launched an official free housing program for people who require a temporary place to stay. Members who are close to the affected areas were also encouraged to sign up and offer extra space (“an extra house, an extra room, or even a spare couch”) as a way of providing relief to those inconvenienced by the hurricane.

Alternate polling sites for NYers

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an emergency order allowing voters in the federally declared disaster areas of New York City and a few other counties to show up at any polling place in the state other than their district. If they’re displaced, they can still file a paper ballot at another polling site that’s more accessible to them. However, they can cast their votes only for the presidential and senatorial race and not for the local legislative contests. The NY Elections board has designated 60 alternate polling sites for voters in storm-stricken areas, with shuttle services for beach-area voters.

Unlikely disaster recovery hotzones

With power outages and horrible wireless coverage still hampering normalcy in NY, charging cellphones, laptops, and other mobile devices are still top priority for residents. When all else fails during natural disasters, Starbucks’ WiFi networks and internet access are usually up and running; and a lot of people have resorted to flocking to or lounging at the coffee chain’s outlets to take advantage of the power outlets and internet connectivity they offer. When wireless carrier’s cell sites are down, the most logical thing to do is to turn to WiFi networks to enable VoIP calling on devices. Evidently, a lot of people are starting to acknowledge the help they can get from internet-based phone services like RingCentral during disasters.

Instacane tells Hurricane Sandy story

It’s hard to picture how huge Hurricane Sandy was if you’re not living in the East Coast. But thankfully, a couple of developers worked on making a solution that made it easier for people around the world to follow and monitor the hurricane. Instacane, a collection of Instagram photos telling what happened before, during, and after Sandy, is a great evidence of how people can leverage social media to get relevant information regarding matters of national importance. The concept behind it was simple. The site monitors a couple of hashtags and displays the tagged photos in one convenient feed for everyone to see. It was also helpful in last year’s Hurricane Irene.

Frankly, technology can be relied upon in times of trouble. People just need to make use of it wisely.

Written By

Leiden Johnson is a photographer by trade but loves all those geeky, tech stuff and the outdoors. If she's not working or going out, you can see her in front of her computer either writing about anything or playing MMORPG’s which helps her to be more creative in her photoshoots. Follow her on Twitter.



  1. Cristian Stan

    November 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Airbnb diserves all the respect in the world. Not just them, the whole american ideology. We have a lot to learn from them.

  2. Terry

    November 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I truly believe that technology has been quite helpful during the sandy storm and the Airbnb partners have been really kind enough to offer temporary shelters for those affected by the storm.Also due to the technology, alerts could be raised way before the disaster could occur.Thanks for sharing this great post.

  3. Jack

    November 20, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Nice post.Technology is very helpful and it has helped during the hurricane Sandy.It helps to detect the disaster and allows evacuation if necessary.I must say that Airbnb has done an extremely great job and it helped so many people out there who were stuck in such situations.

  4. Harry

    November 22, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Thanks for sharing this article and it was quite interesting to read.Technology has always helped during disaster and it will always help.It was so helpful during Sandy storm because It helped to evacuate people before hand when emergency was declared.There were many sites offering help to those affected and provided temporary shelters to them.

  5. Smith

    November 22, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Technology has really proved a boon for people struck by sandy storm. All the respect and heartfelt gratitude goes out to people who worked together during these tough times and provided shelter and resources to the needy.

  6. Eric Szvoboda

    June 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    What a great story. I really think companies like Airbnb have done so much good. It also makes it interesting to compare the efforts to help on another in times of crisis after hurricane Katrina vs hurricane Sandy. What a huge difference! Thank you to all those that have reached out to help someone that was effected by Sandy and Katrina and all storms that we weather through in our lives.

  7. Gilmer

    July 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    This shows how technology is really helpful in so many ways. With the right use and purpose technology can really help a lot. In fact, technology can help in the preparation for these natural disaster through weather forecasts and in the aftermath of a disaster. Thanks for this nice article you have here.

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