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Aid is Out There: Looking for Help from Tweets during a Large Scale Disaster

Istvan Varga, Motoki Sano, Kentaro Torisawa, Chikara Hashimoto, Kiyonori Ohtake, Takao Kawai, Jong-Hoon Oh and Stijn De Saeger

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake caused a wide range of problems, and as countermeasures, many aid activities were carried out. Many of these problems and aid activities were reported via Twitter. However, most problem reports and corresponding aid messages were not successfully exchanged between victims and local governments or humanitarian organizations, overwhelmed by the vast amount of information. As a result, victims could not receive necessary aid and humanitarian organizations wasted resources on redundant efforts. In this paper, we propose a method for discovering matches between problem reports and aid messages. Our system contributes to problem-solving in a large scale disaster situation by facilitating communication between victims and humanitarian organizations.

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