Technology to reunite

Each year, across Russia’s vast and rugged landscape, around 120,000 people – including 45,000 children – go missing. In addition to the untold pain caused to individuals and families, emergency services devote countless resources to search and rescue operations. A rapid response is often crucial in finding a missing person alive and well

Beeline has partnered with Liza Alert – Russia’s largest search and rescue squad – since 2011 to identify and quickly locate missing people across eight time-zones. Beeline has donated a 24/7 information hotline service to Liza Alert and has used a mass-SMS service to quickly activate thousands of volunteers spread across 46 participating cities in Russia.

More than 27,000 volunteers have joined Liza Alert since the collaboration with Beeline and 8,514 missing people were found alive in 2018 from a total of 10,789 searches.

Grigory Sergeyev, Chairman of the Liza Alert search and rescue squad says a common misconception is that searches are difficult, such as deep in the forest or at night, but this is not true. “By receiving a text message saying that we are looking for a child or an elderly person who lost their way literally in the neighbouring area, we will get a huge response,” he says.

The continued success of Liza Alert has also encouraged a national debate about the valuable role of volunteer organisations like Liza Alert.

The support of Beeline has been invaluable to our success in finding thousands of missing people each year,” says Grigory. ‘’Without Beeline’s support over the past years we would never have attracted so many volunteers nor saved as many lives.

Russia’s Children's Rights Commissioner, Anna Kuznetsova adds: “The collaboration between Liza Alert and Beeline is a terrific model of how volunteer organizations and private companies can use technology to work together to address social issues like missing persons.”

Beeline and Liza Alert are challenging themselves to achieve an ambitious target of 100,000 new volunteers by the end of 2021, and to create new IT and digital solutions to make search and rescue operations more efficient and predictable. The next step is to invest in machine learning tools to predict lost people’s movements and to create a platform whereby office employees who are not able to participate in real rescue operations can still make their own positive impact by helping to analyse pictures made by search drones.