Last year, Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from Alphabet. The Google co-founders have always occupied themselves with various side projects, with the latter having a “rapid response organization” that provides humanitarian aid around the world in a high-tech fashion.

The Daily Beast today chronicled the history of Global Support and Development (GSD):

We are a rapid response organization capable of deploying teams globally within hours to make a tangible difference in emergency situations where time is of the essence. We leverage our diverse skill sets and resources to fill gaps in traditional disaster response, with an emphasis on serving displaced and remote communities that may not otherwise receive aid.

As the charity’s sole donor, Sergey Brin is behind those disaster relief “resources.” For example, the group often takes advantage of his speedy $80 million super-yacht — visible in the top image — to arrive in remote locations and disperse humanitarian aid. When Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in 2018, GSD arrived “long before Bahamian government aid.”

  • In the process, GSD treated 900 people, triaged 800 more and coordinated the urgent medical evacuation of 300.
  • During the first week after the storm, GSD directly facilitated the safe landing of over 1100 civilian and military aircraft, enabling the delivery of life-saving supplies and the evacuation of thousands.
  • GSD’s specialized technical teams provided critical information to the Bahamian government and international responders, including daily satellite imagery showing the extent of damage and areas most affected, and created detailed maps to effectively divide response areas

Another project leveraged drones to map Jérémie, Haiti to “identify areas most susceptible to flooding and storm surge in the next major hurricane or flood.”

GSD is staffed by ex-military personnel with leadership — including its ex-US Navy lieutenant CEO — previously working for Brin. The Daily Beast summarizes:

Since then, GSD has grown rapidly. It now has around 20 full-time staff, most of whom have medical training, and another 100 contractors. Dawson noted that special forces veterans (comprising about a quarter of GSD’s workers) are very good at living unsupported, establishing communications, and problem-solving.

GSD’s website lists all past “responses” with details and images. The organization was formally established in late 2018 as a non-profit charity. Documentation available names Sergey Brin, but the Alphabet board member has yet to formally acknowledge his role in the disaster relief organization.

  • Coronavirus Pandemic Response, USA 2020
  • Hurricane Dorian, Abaco Islands, Bahamas 2019
  • Camp Wildfire, California 2018
  • Super-Typhoon Yutu Recovery Efforts on Saipan 2018
  • Volcano Evacuation Support, Vanuatu 2018
  • UAV Mapping Project, Jérémie, Haiti 2018
  • Hurricanes Irma & Maria Bahamas, Turks and Caicos 2017
  • Hurricane Matthew, Bahama Islands 2016
  • 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake, Ecuador 2016
  • Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu 2015

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com