Disaster Relief via Social Media

The world came to a complete halt this weekend as images came from Japan and news began to trickle back to North America about the disaster wrought by the 8.9 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami.

Image via Business Insider

Typically, traditional modes of communication fail during natural disasters and family and friends can be left wondering whether or not their loved ones are even alive, let alone ok. After the quake in Haiti last year, social media stepped up to fill in the void in communications.

Cell phones get jammed quickly, so people turned to Twitter and Facebook to reassure everyone they’re safe. Tools like Google Alerts Realtime, Google People Finder, Google Crisis Center, realtime twitter searches and facebook status updates make these reassurances fast and easier for all concerned.

The Red Cross has partnered with various cell carriers (text RedCross to 90999 in the US and to 30333 in Canada to donate) to allow instant, easy fundraising to millions of people.

No matter where you’re getting your information about this tragedy from, social media tools are easing many minds. There’s nothing worse than hearing about these disasters and have no way of knowing if your family and friends are safe.

Related Articles and Resources:

Tsunami Devastates Japan: How Social Media Reacted
Social Media Response to Japan Earthquake
Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami: Social Media Spreads News, Raises Relief Funds
American Red Cross


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