Legal publisher Thomson Reuters has launched an emergency information service (EIS) for the people of Haiti following last week's devastating earthquake.
The service, a first for Thomson Reuters and provided via its Thomson Reuters Foundation, will be offered free for people in Haiti, as well as their family and friends across the world.
It will provide the latest news and information on the disaster via a text message in both French and Creole - the local languages of the region
Thomson Reuters said in a statement released Monday on the new service that subscribers can utilize the service to help find their loved ones, shelter and aid.
The service will also operate as a news gathering mechanism and offer survivors the ability to report on the situation from the ground level. Such information will be collected by a newly formed EIS team and distributed to emergency teams, agencies and the local media.
Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa commented that the launch of their EIS happened to coincide with the Haiti earthquake.
"We only launched our new service in December on the fifth year anniversary of the Asian Tsunami and whilst you never want or anticipate significant natural disasters, I am pleased that our service is now up and running so that we can come to the aid of the people of Haiti," she said.
Survivors subscribed to the Digicell network can access the information by texting their location to 4636 and will consequently be provided with up-to-date and actionable information to assist them in reaching their loved ones as well as shelter and aid.
Persons outside Haiti can subscribe their family and friends within the region direct to the service on their behalf.