On Wednesday, we-commerce rental site Airbnb has activated its Disaster Response tool in Florida and South Carolina in order to help evacuees affected by Hurricane Matthew, a powerful Category 4 storm with winds as high as 165 mph. The storm made landfall in Haiti Tuesday morning, killing at least 108 people.
The tool’s main use will be to help displaced residents connect with Airbnb hosts who can offer accommodations, at no cost. The service will be available through Tuesday, October 11.
“This is the first major hurricane threat that this area has seen in a few years, and we are hopeful that Airbnb can help play a small part in making the evacuation process easier for residents and their families,” Airbnb spokesperson Nick Shapiro said in a statement.
This is similar to Facebook’s (FB - Free Report) Safety Check, a tool used in the event of natural disasters or terrorist attacks that allows users to let family and friends know if you’re safe and check to see if they’re safe, too.
According to Airbnb, its disaster response tool is activated in the event of a national emergency like Hurricane Matthew. The company created the service after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, and hopes it will “make it easier for community members all over the world to provide emergency accommodations in times of crisis.”
The governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have all declared states of emergency, and hurricane warnings are in effect for portions of Florida and the Bahamas.
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