Free Information Service Launched for Disaster-Struck Population in Haiti: Text Your Location 4636 To Register

By Thomson Reuters Foundation, PRNE
Saturday, January 16, 2010

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, January 17 -

    - Thomson Reuters Foundation puts in place first-of-its-kind Emergency
      Information Service ('EIS') in Haiti

    - The EIS is exclusively operating for and on behalf of earthquake
      survivors, using local languages, French and Creole

    - The service is free and global. People in Haiti and families and
      friends around the world can register via a simple text message

    - Survivors will receive critical news and information direct to their
      mobile phones

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has today launched a first-of-its kind,
free disaster-information service for the people of Haiti. The service allows
survivors of Haiti's earthquake to receive critical information by text
message directly to their phones, free of charge.

To register, survivors subscribing to the Digicell network, the largest
in the Caribbean, simply text their location to the SMS shortcode 4636. By
return, up-to-date, reliable, actionable information will be sent to them
wherever they are in Haiti, helping them to reach shelter, aid and loved
ones. The service will cost them nothing.

The service also acts as a news and information gathering mechanism,
whereby survivors can report information directly into the EIS team of
specialist journalists. The EIS team will collate this information and it
will by made available to agencies, emergency teams and local media.

People outside of Haiti and the quake zone can register their loved ones'
cell phone numbers on their behalf.


    - If inside Haiti: text your location to 4636 directly from your own

    - If inside Haiti and registering someone else's phone number: send a
      text with REGISTER or REGISTRE and the loved ones' number and
      location, to 4636

    - If overseas: text REGISTER or REGISTRE and the loved ones' local Haiti
      number, and location to +4673-749-4535

    - Note: The SMS shortcode is dependent on local telecom infrastructure;
      if the infrastructure fails, the local SMS service will not work

The EIS also aims to get critical information to survivors via local
media, especially radio, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation already has a
team of expert humanitarian journalists in Haiti working around the clock to
collect and disseminate information. Working with technology partner InSTEDD
and aid agencies including the Red Cross, the Thomson Reuters Foundation aims
to help Haitians with practical information to help them take control of
their own recovery.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO, Monique Villa, said this morning, "In
times of major natural catastrophes, information itself is aid, as crucial as
shelter or blankets. All forms of communication in Haiti have been impaired
and the EIS team will help fill the communication void providing reliable,
actionable information to the disaster affected population. We only launched
our new service in December on the fifth year anniversary of the Asian
Tsunami and whilst you never want or anticipate significant natural
disasters, I am pleased that our service is now up and running so that we can
come to the aid of the people of Haiti."

About The EIS

The Emergency Information Service is a first service of its kind,
launched by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in December 2009. The EIS will be
deployed when major natural disasters strikes communities around the world,
leaving them with no reliable communication infrastructure. EIS Action-Units
will be deployed within hours of a disaster and upon arrival in the disaster
zone will seek out, collate and disseminate life-saving information to
disaster-hit populations. Key to the EIS if the use of local language for the
affected population.

Thomson Reuters Foundation has developed groundbreaking technology to
allow the EIS team and other groups to assimilate and process multiple
information streams in an emergency. The tools let the EIS Action-Units
generate information services for dissemination in local languages via SMS,
email and web page. When all communications are down, the EIS will turn to
low-tech means such as leaflets, community notice boards and even megaphones.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation joined by the Red Cross to act as a key
delivery partner in disaster zones.

About Thomson Reuters Foundation

Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity
in Britain and the United States. The charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, it
leverages the skills and expertise across the corporation to increase trust
and access to the rule of law, to save lives through the provision of trusted
information and to improve standards of journalism.

Following the acquisition of Reuters by Thomson Corp in 2008, the
Foundation's resources and programmes were expanded and a new leadership team
was appointed. The Thomson Reuters Foundation website,, is a portal
which integrates the Foundation's three key areas of focus and brings
together the Foundation's community of partners.

Thomson Reuters, Victoria Brough, Head of External Affairs, EMEA, + 44(0)207-542-8763, victoria.brough at ; Tom Gilbert, Corporate Communications Manager, +44(0)207-542-4214, tom.h.gilbert at

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