A number of tech companies stepped up in the wake of the disastrous earthquake in Nepal over the weekend, but so far Facebook seems to have emerged with a surfeit of generosity, as well as a helpful mobile-enabled tool for remotely checking in on potential victims.
Facebook announced today, linking from the top of users newsfeeds, that they would be matching all users' donations (up to $2 million) to the International Medical Corps, which is on the ground in Nepal offering medical relief. So if you want to give to the cause, you can make sure your money is doubled by doing it through that link. The International Medical Corps is currently canvasing devastated towns and cities "distributing hygiene kits, water purification tablets and other supplies to keep families healthy."
Also, Facebook put into action their Safety Check tool, a tool that grew out of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan. It allows users in the area to quickly alert their friends and family that they're OK, and it also sent notifications out to smartphones using GPS data asking if users in the vicinity were OK, if they didn't have access to a computer. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Saturday morning, when Safety Check was enabled, "When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters." It's unclear, though, how much cell coverage there is in remote Nepal and Bangladesh.
Google, which lost one of its employees who was hiking Mount Everest, already pledged $1 million in aid, as ABC 7 reports. And as NBC News adds, they're offering Google Voice calls to Nepal for a penny a minute, down from 19 cents a minute they chose not to make them free so that hackers didn't abuse the system.
Also, friends of the hiker who was killed, Dan Fredinburg, have already raised almost $50,000 through CrowdRise on behalf of the organization Fredinburg was working for in part, OrphanGift. Donations made in Dan's memory will go directly to help children affected by the earthquake.
Apple is taking donations to the Red Cross's effort in Nepal through the iTunes Store. Uber, also, is donating all the proceeds earned by drivers at Uber Dubai on April 28 to the Red Cross.
Microsoft, also, as TechNet reports, has pledged at least $1 million in technology and connectivity aid to the region, which included an immediate donation to NetHope, which provides internet connectivity during times of disaster. They're also making all Skype calls to landlines and cell phones in and out of Nepal free of charge.
The earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and was the biggest to strike the region in more than 80 years. The relief effort is expected to cost billions of dollars in a country with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world $62.50 a month.