Perse pupils take part in mapathon to boost Cyclone Idai aid effort
29 Mar 2019
Pupils have done their bit to support the Cyclone Idai relief effort by helping map areas hit by the devastating weather phenomenon in the latest Perse Missing Maps mapathon.
The recent Cyclone Idai had a disastrous impact on a wide area of east Africa, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, with its 120mph winds causing severe flooding and at least $1billion in damage. More than 700 people were killed as a result, while more than 3million people were affected across the region.
Perse pupils have been participating in mapathons to help communities in crisis-prone parts of the world through mapping since November 2017 as part of the Missing Maps project, which was founded by Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Red Cross and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Using aerial footage, the maps created are then made available for free to help pinpoint places in the world that are vulnerable to natural disasters, disease outbreaks, epidemics or conflict.
The latest mapathon saw 25 pupils updating and digitising buildings around the Gorongosa area of central Mozambique, close to where Cyclone Idai hit land at the coastal city of Beira two weeks ago. The edits that the pupils made will help aid agencies distribute aid more effectively in the aftermath of the disaster.
Rory Clark (Year 11) said: “It’s just nice to help people around the world when they’re disadvantaged and we have so much. We’ve been mapping the roads and houses of the areas affected by Cyclone Idai and that means the aid workers on the ground can go online and upload these maps. They can see them as they’re being updated which means they can work out where they need to go.
Rhia Aurora (Year 7) added: “It’s just devastating all the damage that’s been caused by Cyclone Idai. Hopefully what we’ve done will help some peoples’ lives in Mozambique.”
Perse Head of Geography James Riley was pleased so many pupils wanted to get involved in the Missing Maps mapathons and help make an impact on peoples’ lives.
He said: “This was our ninth mapathon and we have now donated well over 300 hours’ worth of aid mapping. It’s really refreshing to see so many Perse students energised by helping with aid work.
“I think it’s really important for them to appreciate that charity work can be giving your time as well as your money. They’ve made a real difference and it is no understatement to note that mapping really does save lives in these situations.”
The Perse will be hosting a mapathon organised by the Cambridge branch of Missing Maps on 22 May, which is open to all, while the next school mapathon for pupils takes place on 18 June.