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  1. Natural disasters can have devastating consequences for communities, causing loss of life and significant economic damage. To mitigate these impacts, it is crucial to quickly and accurately identify situational awareness and actionable information useful for disaster relief and response organizations. In this paper, we study the use of advanced transformer and contrastive learning models for disaster image classification in a humanitarian context, with focus on state-of-the-art pre-trained vision transformers such as ViT, CSWin and a state-of-the-art pre-trained contrastive learning model, CLIP. We evaluate the performance of these models across various disaster scenarios, including in-domain and cross-domain settings, as well as few- shot learning and zero-shot learning settings. Our results show that the CLIP model outperforms the two transformer models (ViT and CSWin) and also ConvNeXts, a competitive CNN-based model resembling transformers, in all the settings. By improving the performance of disaster image classification, our work can contribute to the goal of reducing the number of deaths and economic losses caused by disasters, as well as helping to decrease the number of people affected by these events. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 9, 2024
  2. Effectively filtering and categorizing the large volume of user-generated content on social media during disaster events can help emergency management and disaster response prioritize their resources. Deep learning approaches, including recurrent neural networks and transformer-based models, have been previously used for this purpose. Capsule Neural Networks (CapsNets), initially proposed for image classification, have been proven to be useful for text analysis as well. However, to the best of our knowledge, CapsNets have not been used for classifying crisis-related messages, and have not been extensively compared with state-of-the-art transformer-based models, such as BERT. Therefore, in this study, we performed a thorough comparison between CapsNet models, state-of-the-art BERT models and two popular recurrent neural network models that have been successfully used for tweet classification, specifically, LSTM and Bi-LSTM models, on the task of classifying crisis tweets both in terms of their informativeness (binary classification), as well as their humanitarian content (multi-class classification). For this purpose, we used several benchmark datasets for crisis tweet classification, namely CrisisBench, CrisisNLP and CrisisLex. Experimental results show that the performance of the CapsNet models is on a par with that of LSTM and Bi-LSTM models for all metrics considered, while the performance obtained with BERT models have surpassed the performance of the other three models across different datasets and classes for both classification tasks, and thus BERT could be considered the best overall model for classifying crisis tweets. 
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