THE TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORTS
Maui center offers maps
to tsunami effort
KIHEI, Maui » The Pacific Disaster Center on Maui has expanded its Web site to include maps designed to help relief workers in zones damaged by the tsunami in Southeast Asia.
U.N. agencies and other aid workers in the field can use the maps to identify damaged roads and bridges or locate hospitals and safe aircraft landing zones, officials said.
"The gap we tried to fill was to have a lot of information easily available on the Internet, as well as data available for downloading," the chief operating officer of the center, Ray Shirkhodai, said yesterday. "A lot depends on how quickly and easily you can get maps to the people who need it."
The Dec. 26 disaster killed between 145,000 and 178,000 people in 11 countries and left tens of thousands more missing and feared dead.
Downloading the maps requires a password provided by the center. Licensing agreements with companies and U.S. government agencies who provide the satellite images limit free password access to emergency management communities and those involved in relief efforts, Shirkhodai said.
But the public is free to view the maps and other information on the site, he said.