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Mobile phone tracking could help target aid after disasters, study shows

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5646 (Published 05 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5646
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Using mobile phones to track the movement of people after a disaster could help to deliver humanitarian aid more effectively, researchers have said after finding that the results of such tracking correlated well with people’s migration after the Haiti earthquake last year.

After the earthquake and during the ensuing cholera epidemic in Haiti, researchers monitored data on the position of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards from the island’s largest mobile phone company by tracking the location of the mobile phone tower connected during calls. They noted the daily positions of SIM cards 42 days before the earthquake and 158 days …

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