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Google opens its Person Finder tool to aid earthquake relief efforts in Nepal

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Omar Havana/Getty Images

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal early this morning, striking an area between Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, with damage extending to India, Bangladesh, and Tibet. At the time of publication, nearly 1,000 people have died and more than 1,700 have been injured as a result of the earthquake, the BBC reports. In an attempt to aid rescue efforts, Google has once again opened up its Person Finder tool — a simple crowd-sourced missing persons database.

Google first launched the application in 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and has since deployed the tool several times after natural disasters. Person Finder gathers information from emergency responders and individual users who can enter information for a missing person or someone who has been found. At this time, around 1,300 records have been collected and that number will likely continue to grow throughout the day.