In the past few weeks, news coverage has been dominated by recent natural disasters. Back to back hurricane catastrophes in the United States have plunged the country into a state of national crisis. Hurricane Harvey has proven itself to be one of the most costly natural disasters in US history. Most recently there is also Hurricane Irma, which wrecked havoc throughout the Caribbean Islands, Cuba and the entirety of Florida. In just two weeks, this region of the world has accumulated billions of dollars in losses.
Between 2003 - 2013, natural disasters have cost the global economy $1.5 trillion, caused over 1.1 million deaths, and affected more than 2 billion people. Source
Natural disasters are only expected to increase through the adverse affects of climate change. So how can we become better prepared for natural disasters? How can we learn from the recent events to ensure that in the event of a natural disaster, no matter the country, we can employ the same strategy and planning tools to ensure safety and security of the earth’s citizens?
Enter Rock Against Poverty, a fundraising event initiative founded by the Vihara Foundation and Melbourne tech start-up Metavents. Rock Against Poverty aims to highlight and change the cultural and political attitudes towards disaster mitigation and readiness through entertainment.
Over the next few years, the team behind Metavents will be planning and executing 50 Rock Against Poverty events held in 25 countries worldwide. Of the 50 events, 45 will be smaller scale, with 500-1,500 capacity and 5 will be large scale, 50,000 – 100,000 capacity events. The target will be to create $1 billion annually over the next 10 years for the most at risk nations. Currently, participating countries are being evaluated and will be announced in late 2017.
The Vihara Foundation is a registered, not for profit, organization created in 2009 with a purpose of augmenting the global efforts underway for addressing poverty, climate change and creative development financing. The foundation recognized the inefficiencies with the current humanitarian model and sought a technology partner who could help innovate and maximize the impact they can create through the Rock Against Poverty concerts. This search led them to Melbourne based tech startup Metavents.
Metavents is an early stage startup with an aim to make large-scale events seamless to plan, organize and execute through a platform that utilizes 3D/Virtual Reality simulation. It provides a shared and collaborative environment for all stakeholders, emergency services, staff and volunteers to remotely induct and train for emergency services in a simulated environment without being exposed to physical risks.
Founder of Metavents, Joel De Ross, describes the similarities of setting up music festivals and disaster relief camps. “Setting up an outdoor festival minus the music is not to different to setting up a refugee camp. Food, water, shelter, security, medical and waste management systems need to be delivered to remote locations. An entire ecosystem of disparate stakeholders and volunteers need to effectively communicate and seamlessly work together to ensure the safety of tens to hundreds of thousands of people in challenging environments. Every feature we have designed to improve festival planning and operations is transferable into responding to humanitarian crisis.”
The capability that the Metavents platform will be able to provide has been validated by top NGO’s such as World Vision, Save the Children, Red Cross and military first responders as being able to provide significant improvements to planning, executing and deploying resources in response to natural disasters around the world.
Be sure to follow the Rock Against Poverty website for more details as they are announced.