Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Social networks proving key to disaster relief

The Philippines are wracked with suffering and destruction following Typhoon Haiyan. The country needs urgent help, and online social networks are playing an important role in providing it.

Horrific images from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan have appeared around the world. At least 10,000 people are thought to have been killed in the Philippines, and thousands more are still missing, and it has proved extremely difficult for friends and family to make contact with one another. Many people don't know whether their loved ones have survived - and if so where they are.

 
Social networks and other Internet services have played a decisive part in overcoming these difficulties in the snowballing humanitarian crisis - in finding missing people, in the coordination of help on the ground, and the collection of donations.

Searching for the missing
Google has started a "Person Finder" website, where missing people can be registered. Anyone with information about someone can use it to help those searching. Nearly 50,000 people have already been entered.

Messages have also been left on Twitter by people searching for loved ones, usually with photos and information about where they were last seen.

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