Image courtesy http://www.shawngossman.com
By: Blanca Reyes
Several natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, extreme heat waves, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes affect the U.S. every year; and thousands of people are affected by these beyond one’s control tragic events.
At those moments, the chaos and confusion prevail and it is not uncommon that families are separated. To make things worse, the traditional forms of communication are severely affected. Usually, one of the first things affected is electricity; land phone lines are either blocked or totally dead, and cell phone carriers can’t handle the volume or calls. It’s here where people turn to social media to get information, help and updates.
People who use social media during these tragic events are increasing every day. The University of San Francisco created an infographic to throw light on how many people, nowadays, use the different social networks to stay communicated before, during and after a natural disaster. The results speak for themselves: As much as 20% of Americans have used an emergency app. Among people who have been directly affected by natural disasters, 76% used social media to contact friends and family; 37% of those people found shelters and supplies through social media; and these platforms were also used by 24% of people to let their loved ones know they were safe and where they were.
Moreover, social media also plays an important role during the recovery process. According to experts, the most common problems working with these victims is the extreme low level of retention of information due to the trauma. This information is crucial in order to get the right help on time. It is here where social media has become the newest, fastest and easiest tool for people during natural disasters. With just a click, victims can get the necessary information as many times as they need to ensure it has been understood and has reached all the victims. This is why social media has become a very important central point of information.