Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visits Del. to talk natural disaster response

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Zuckerberg visits with Del. government officials. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at 4:30 a.m. on September 26, 2017. (WPVI)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stopped in Delaware for an important talk on disaster response.

He posted a photo from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.

Zuckerberg talked about Facebook's ability to help keep communities safe in times of crisis and brainstormed on how to coordinate better with government officials on this effort.

In his post on Monday night, he wrote:

"I spent today in Delaware discussing emergency response for natural disasters like the hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes we've seen recently.

Disaster response is an area where Facebook is in a unique position to help keep our community safe. We've built three important tools that are used widely in disasters:

1. Safety Check. This asks people in a disaster area if they're safe, and then notifies their friends and family immediately. When someone you care about is potentially in danger, the first thing you want to know is that they're safe. This uses our location data and network to do this. In the last few years, it has notified people more than 2 billion times that people they care about are safe.

2. Community Help. This matches volunteers who can supply food, shelter, or other resources with people in a disaster area who need help. We just launched this and we'll add more ways for people to volunteer and help over time.

3. Fundraising Tools. This enables anyone on Facebook to raise money for non-profits simply by posting and tagging organizations. After Hurricane Harvey, members of our community raised more than $17 million for relief on Facebook. That's one of the fundraising efforts for relief in history.

On this trip, I stopped by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) HQ and discussed ways we could coordinate better with Governor Carney and members of their team.

I also met with academics studying disaster response and leaders of local non-profits. They shared interesting research around how regular members of communities often have more capacity to provide relief efforts than the formal relief organizations.

For example, they told me about the Cajun Navy -- an informal group from the Louisiana Bayous who got on their motor boats after Harvey flooded Houston and started rescuing people in the flooded streets of Houston. They told me how after 9/11 in New York City, a makeshift armada of civilian boats -- motor boats, dinner cruise ships, yachts, etc -- helped people get off Manhattan and in many cases get back home to New Jersey or other places.

These stories make it clear there's even more we can do to help our community work together in disasters to keep us all safe. This is historically work that only governments and non-profits would do, but we're in a new world and there is an important role for internet communities to help here too."



While he was in the area, Zuckerberg did what most tourists would do - stopped for a cheesesteak.


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delaware newsfacebookhurricaneearthquakeflooding
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