Blog.
All about our Smart Donations trial
with Oxfam Austraila.

Cyclone Protector

In a series of blogs, we’re going to explain the details of each different 'Smart Donation' you can sign up for through the Smart Donations app over the duration of the pilot.

This contract is about protecting the Pacific Islands and helping them prepare for tropical cyclones. Some cyclones remain out in the ocean, and are low risk, but others can be devastating. We can monitor different kinds of cyclone events, from their formation to endangering populations in specific regions, and on this basis, you can pledge your support.

What is this Smart Donation about?

This contract is about protecting the Pacific Islands and helping them prepare for tropical cyclones. Some cyclones remain out in the ocean, and are low risk, but others can be devastating. We can monitor different kinds of cyclone events, from their formation to endangering populations in specific regions, and on this basis, you can pledge your support.

Beneficiary: International Crisis Fund & Disaster Risk Reduction Projects

Donations to this contract will be split equally between two funds: the International Crisis Fund, and Oxfam’s Disaster Risk Reduction projects.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience
Unfortunately, many communities are at risk of natural disasters. Oxfam Australia’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones. We work alongside communities to improve preparedness, reduce vulnerability and build peoples’ resilience to shocks, stresses, and uncertainty. DRR and Resilience are about much more than helping people cope or bounce back after a disaster. They are about empowering women, men, girls and boys to reduce their vulnerability and risk before the disaster strikes and have access to the necessary skills, knowledge and information to continually adapt to ongoing change, stress and disruption. Oxfam Australia carries out DRR projects across the Pacific Islands.
Oxfam’s International Crisis Fund
Oxfam responds rapidly and efficiently to natural or man-made emergencies around the globe, assessing the most vulnerable people affected and working in partnership with local and international organisations. The International Crisis Fund is a vital resource, which ensures that Oxfam can be on the ground when emergencies strike to provide food, clean water, shelter, hygiene kits and other essential items. Importantly, Oxfam’s International Crisis Fund is not only used to respond to cyclones, but any kind of natural or man-made disaster where Oxfam can respond, and the funds are needed most.

Conditions: What can we use to trigger a donation?

Tropical cyclones form year-round, but are more common from November through to April in the Pacific Ocean. Cyclones begin as storms out at sea, however as they develop higher and more sustained winds, they are named and classified from Categories 1 to 5. In addition to high winds, they can cause destruction through storm surges which bring flooding and land erosion. The Global Disaster and Coordination System (GDACS) data source we use gives us data about where these cyclones are, their strength category, and the populations potentially exposed to them. In addition, combining these measures, GDACS also provide a low, medium and high-risk scale for each cyclone. Based on this data, we can trigger donations based on a number of conditions. First, you can choose to protect specific regions. For example, you can choose to give $5 if Vanuatu is affected by a cyclone. Second, you can pledge to give a small amount for any cyclone that forms in the Pacific. This might not ultimately bring people any harm, but your donation can be used to protect people by preparing for future disasters. Third, you can give based on the number of people exposed to a cyclone. For example, you could pledge to give $5 if more than 100,000 people in a region are exposed to a tropical cyclone. Finally, you can also use the Contract Builder to combine some of these conditions, and protect specific regions and populations.

What data can we use?

We use data from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) , which is a cooperation framework between the United Nations, the European Commission and disaster managers worldwide to improve alerts, information exchange and coordination in the first phase after major sudden-onset disasters. GDACS provides data on the formation and development of tropical cyclones around the world, and makes estimates about the number of people who may be affected by these storms. During this trial, we will rely on manually validating this data every 24 hours. This means a member of our research team will look at the GDACS data, and inform the Smart Donations app about any cyclone activity that has developed in the Pacific.