ReliefWeb is a major resource for the international humanitarian community, producing a wide variety of resources related to human and natural crisis. Daily news, press releases, appeals, policy documents, reports, jobs opportunities, maps and infographics are released around the clock by their three offices of Kobe, Geneva and New York. Initiated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 1996, it has since then helped organizations around the world to coordinate their efforts.
From the end of 2010, Wiredcraft worked with ReliefWeb and Development Seed to launch, maintain and extend the latest incarnation of ReliefWeb.int, migrating more than 350,000 reports, 150,000 registered users and 20,000 maps to a faster, more reliable and more comprehensive solution.
Built on Drupal 7, the site offers mainly two ways to access the high volume of information published daily on the site; drilling down on updates, trainings and jobs relying on a granular faceted search, powered by Sphinx, and browsing countries and disasters profiles, delivering curated hubs of content organized around these specific humanitarian interests. Most of the information across the site is put in context using maps; Development Seed collaborated with the UN to conceive a customized MapBox tileset that properly reflects disputed border areas, powering informative overviews of the activity by country.
Given the very nature of the platform, speed and reliability were one of the most important goals of this new version; the project was thought from the bottom up with performance in mind, relying on highly optimized code and tools such as the Varnish reverse-proxy to deliver a snappy experience to visitors and handle the huge surge of traffic the site regularly experience in periods of crisis. The sheer volume of notifications sent to the hundreds of thousands of subscribed is handled through a tight integration of SendGrid.