What can the tech world do to help with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath?

NOTE: Reposted from my internal Intel blog. These thoughts are my own, and don’t represent Intel in any official way.

I know the obvious answers, like donating money and blood to the Red Cross, etc., and I wholeheartedly support those ideas. But I’m thinking about types of help that we, as a giant technology company, are more specially suited to. Remember after September 11, how Intel helped out with telecommunications, internet access, etc. for both the victims and rescue workers? I’m wondering if there’s not something we can do along those lines.

I just can’t believe that a major U.S. city is practically completely submerged under 20 feet of water. Millions are homeless, and will be for weeks, if not months. Basic service infrastructure is wiped out, as well as most communications. Can we do something with WiMAX here, to get VoIP and internet access to the area? Information about loved ones, evacuation routes, emergency services, etc. are in extremely high demand right now, and there’s no way for most people in the affected area to get any of it. The geeks of the world are trying to put their heads together to come up with ways to help.

Not that I have any specific ideas, but I’d love to see Intel come up with something to help, similar to what we did with 9/11. While the loss of life is nowhere near other disasters that have happened (9/11, the tsunami, etc.), the magnitude of this disaster is huge. Almost incomprehensible to me. Let’s put our heads together and come up with some ways that we can help where perhaps no one else can…