Cries for Help via Text Messages Are Used to Direct Aid to Haiti

From his makeshift workstation, Ryan Bank spends hours sifting through thousands of electronic cries for help from Haitian earthquake victims, many detailing the horrors of dead family members, hunger and homelessness.”I’m hungry and I have no one,” says one text message from a Haitian man living in a tent city with thousands of others whose homes were destroyed in the quake. “People are unable to breathe due to the smell of the dead,” says another.Mr. Bank, a Coast Guard volunteer who runs his own technology company in Chicago, said he had received more than 18,000 messages. “Most of them are utterly heartbreaking,” he said while staring at a list of messages sent to him through a new emergency relief effort that relies on text messages and social networking Web sites to help coordinate humanitarian aid in Haiti.

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