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Gabriel: Disaster aid can benefit from technology

Gabriel: Disaster aid can benefit from technology

Posted: Friday, January 29, 2010 8:01 pm

Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Haiti’s devastating earthquake reinforced Peter Gabriel’s belief that disaster relief needs to take better advantage of the digital age.
“Technology has tremendous potential,” the 59-year old singer-songwriter said in a recent interview.
“I’m a big fan of mobile (phones),” said Gabriel. “You can send money from one person to another (via cellular phone) and they cash it for water, food or medical provisions.”
The Jan. 12 earthquake left an estimated a toll of 200,000 dead, as reported by the European Commission, while 250,000 people were injured and 2 million left homeless in the nation of 9 million.
Gabriel, a techie who has been involved in different online ventures, is encouraged that volunteers from across the globe have come together to assist the impoverished Caribbean nation but says people need to understand that Haiti needs more than just temporary aid.
“Someone from the Red Cross at an Elders meeting, recently, was saying that it’s very important to concentrate on the long-term rebuilding of a society that’s been so devastated,” he said.
Gabriel is one of the founders of The Elders, which he started with Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson and others.
The goal of the group is to solve global problems through their collective wisdom. Among the group’s initiatives are climate change, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and resolving political conflicts throughout the world.
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Published in The Messenger 1.29.10

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