On February 16th, Percent Pledge hosted its very first public virtual volunteer event—making our internal volunteer events available externally, to our community, so that everyone can make an impact alongside us.
Together, we mapped communities in the Latakia district in western Syria to support humanitarian aid organizations responding to the earthquake that struck on February 6th. During the Virtual Map-a-Thon for Humanitarian Aid, Percent Pledge employees and its community mapped 1,167 buildings in partnership with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).
The earthquake that struck caused widespread damage and tens of thousands of fatalities in densely populated and only partially mapped areas. Humanitarian organizations need to rapidly respond, but without accurate and up-to-date maps, their life-saving efforts can be delayed.
During the event, volunteers were provided an overview of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and taught how to read open-source maps from satellite images. Then Percent Pledge and its community volunteers worked together to map buildings in the Latakia district in western Syria. Humanitarian organizations now have access to the mapped information so they can plan risk reduction and disaster response activities to save lives.