Friday, 22 January 2010

Online support for the people of Haiti

As you all would have heard, Haiti was victim to a vicious earthquake on Tuesday 13th January. This was said to be the strongest earthquake in more than two centuries to rock this Caribbean nation. Words cannot begin to describe the shock in the wake of last week’s tragic events in Haiti.

Across Haiti, dozens of buildings have collapsed and thousands of people are feared dead. This catastrophe has left residents shaken, with some unable to cope.

Moreover, some Haitians have expressed feeling very abandoned and alone at the moment, which is mainly due to a lack of aid supplies. The rescue effort and the promised help are now desperately needed, but so far the fresh supplies of water, food and medical equipment are still in short supply.

Little do they know that there are major relief efforts in progress. But I am not only referring to those massive relief efforts by governments and international authorities, but I must highlight the massive efforts being launched on social media sites like facebook and twitter, to name a few.

Social media platforms have been overloaded since last Tuesday with some groups formed to make donations of food and clothes, others to help overseas family members searching for missing relatives and some for condolence postings. These groups also provide members with up-to-date information on the situation in Haiti. For example:

Unfortunately, communication is down in Haiti, so residents would not be privy to these efforts, but they will be extremely beneficial to them later. So as much as residents may feel alone at this point, they are being heavily supported!
I would suggest paying a visit to these groups to see the worldwide concern and support for victims of this tragedy. It reinforces the practicality of using social media platforms in wide scale public relations plans. Furthermore, it demonstrates the rapid acceleration of social media as a fundamental communications strategy in any situation.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gem,

    As shocking as this disaster is. I was even more horrified to see the headlines in the newspaper that cruise liners despite the severity of the disaster were still docking in Haiti-

    I thought that anybody and everyobody would have a little more sensitivity than to flaunt wealth and good health in the faces of people facing such dire conditions.

    I think there are many people who would benefit from doing as you suggested, visiting the social media platforms and truly understanding what these people are going through, in the hope that they can show a little more respect for their suffering.

    Even the media attention has tried to allow the Haitians some dignity, something that treating them as a tourist attraction will never do.