At a Glance
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Although the stated purpose of Relief Central is "to assist relief workers, first responders, and others called to serve in disaster relief situations around the world," this app is a valuable resource for anyone who travels internationally or just wants to learn more about the world.
Using the app is very simple. Your home screen offers five main options: Favorites (your bookmarked articles), The World Factbook (a mobile-formatted version of the CIA publication), Field Operations Guide (a mobile-formatted version of the United States Agency for International Development publication), Relief News, and MEDLINE Journals.
The World Factbook is an exhaustive catalog of information about every country on Earth. It contains maps and historical, geopolitical, demographic, economic, and environmental data for each country. Everyone, especially international travelers, should familiarize themselves with this amazing treasure trove of information.
The Field Operations Guide is perhaps a bit more obscure to the average person, but its Chapter V: Commonly Used Acronyms and Terms contains a lot of interesting information about terminology used by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Department of Defense.
Relief News is a collection of RSS feeds that cover topics related to disaster relief. Sources include the Center for Disease Control, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Red Cross, the United Nations, and others. Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings are, of course, of particular interest to international travelers.
MEDLINE Journals is a collection of links to article abstracts and citations for several scholarly publications such as the American Journal of Disaster Medicine and Bulletin of the World Health Organization. This is mostly useful to researchers or medical professionals.
Options are accessed through the Menu key, and consist of Add Favorite, Index, History and Home. They are self-explanatory and simple to use.
Unfortunately, search is not a feature available in this app. Given the enormous quantity of available information, a search option would be a huge time-saver. This is my only criticism of Relief Central, and it's really more of a feature request than a criticism.
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