“Along with the State Department, the Pentagon and aid groups, as well as Haiti’s leading cellphone carrier and countless volunteers, the Coast Guard is part of an emergency contact network for Haitians to send text messages requesting aid.”
Amid all the destruction, according to this New York Times report, mobile phones are helping aid workers’ rescue efforts in Haiti. The decision to focus on text messaging resulted from the damage Haiti’s telecommunications system suffered from the earthquake. Broken transmitters and overloaded networks made telephone calls nearly impossible. However, text messaging was still available.
Among the successes according to a Coast Guard volunteer cited by The Times, text messaging helped identify a tent city that the American military and relief workers were previously unaware of.