As a country that is regularly bombarded with natural disasters, specifically numerous amount of typhoons, social media proved to be effective when it comes to relaying updates to both government and citizens to provide aid for areas in need.
November 8, a date every Filipino and possibly the world, would never forget, Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) made landfall in the Philippines and it left a destruction beyond belief that caught everyone off guard and made it hard to comprehend what had happened. Millions of people in the Visayas region have been greatly affected, an estimated 6000 citizens died and over 1700 still missing.
Providing immediate relief to the victims was on top of everyone’s list, people relied on Facebook and Twitter to gather donations (both in kind and cash), volunteers, and also broadcast news to the world.
Though the local government had its own stock of relief goods in anticipation for the supertyphoon, nothing prepared them (and the country even) on the gravity of the situation. In the aftermath of the storm, survivors rummaged through the piles of debris in search for goods and loved ones. This was a common site in places that were struck really hard like Capiz, Aklan and especially Tacloban. Journalists and photographers on the field would take pictures of survivors; write down their names and information so they can give it to their worried relatives in other places. People on social networking sites like Facebook would “share” and repost information of missing loved ones hoping that they are among those who survived.
Checking up on these pictures and messages would become a daily habit for some, giving them a peace of mind whenever something good happens. It’s amazing how a person could be so caught up in the life of someone else, even the one’s who they don’t really know.
Hashtags have been a great asset in looking help. From relief to rescue, there have been various kinds of tags that were used right after the typhoon had struck the country. Hashtags like ‘#reliefPH’ and ‘#rescuePH’ which have been used since typhoon Ondoy (2010), a storm with great rainfall that left some parts of Luzon submerged in water, re-circulated the ‘Twitterverse’ once more and in great...