Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

CARY, N.C. – Those of us in North Carolina who have survived hurricanes and floods can only begin to imagine the scope of the human tragedy that has nearly overwhelmed Pakistan in recent weeks.

is helping fight the disaster of massive floods in a unique way, offering data mining expertise rather than sandbags to help stem the flow of human misery.

Staff at its subsidiary in Pakistan and elsewhere have donated the use of the company’s data mining and analytic software as well as processing horsepower at its Pakistan headquarters to help relief agencies get aid to where it is needed most.

A spokesperson for SAS confirmed to Local Tech Wire and that CEO Jim Goodnight and company stepped into the breach to help the International Organization for Migration.

Millions have people have been left homeless. As bad as hurricanes have been here in North Carolina and as vivid as our memories are of Katrina in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast, we really have no idea beyond the impact of video and photographs the scale of suffering in that distant land.

The IOM is helping coordinate delivery of aid from around the world and thus must work with scores of Pakistani as well as international relief groups and other countries.

Managing all the data – from schedules to inventories, where aid is delivered and so much more – is a mind boggling challenge.

In stepped SAS Pakistan.

SAS issued a press announcement about IOM utilizing its software but didn’t disclose the donation or the fact its staff in Pakistan is running the numbers until asked by The Skinny.

So here’s a tip of the Skinny’s hat to Goodnight and the team at SAS for pitching in to help. Who knows how many lives will be saved? Just one would be worth the SAS investment.

“Responding to a large-scale disaster requires more than just the ability to distribute,” said Brian Kelly, IOM’s head of Emergency and Stabilization Programming, in a statement. “The humanitarian community needs to understand local markets, evaluate supply chains and digest large amounts of data to make informed decisions. This is what SAS does best, and this is what they are doing for us. SAS’ knowledge and technology are helping Pakistan to save lives.”

Going forward, SAS and IOM say they will work together to see how analytics could help deal with future disasters.

Just as the sun rises, more disasters will strike.

SAS just might help make dealing with the next tsunami, hurricane, typhoon or earthquake a more manageable task.

That would be data mining at its very best.

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