Social Media an effective tool during disasters

The Cape Town fire has died down, after residents and firefighters fought hard to keep the scorching blaze under control when it first started Sunday night 1 March 2015. Trending on social media were mostly Cape Town suburb names, which included daunting images of most of the city under fire. The reality and intensity of the disaster only hit most people through imagery and videos published online.



Thanks to social media, residents all over Cape Town including the fire department were able to make donations through communication on twitter, with the use of the hashtag #CapeFire. By making use of a hashtag you can search for relevant information and stay updated for new developments around any topic. In one way or another twitter enforces a channel of open communication to directly interact with the government and other entities for assistance during national disasters.

In 2013, during the Boston marathon bombing in the U.S  runners took to twitter to share updates on what was happening and to tell their loved ones they were ok. The Boston police department also used social media to keep the media and frightened citizens accurately informed about what was going on. This proves that indeed social media has become an effective tool during disaster.

Ultimately, the use of social media in the right way could bring about desirable results, and possibly save a life. Although there are still some areas under flame in the Western Cape (Stellenbosch), they are under control,with firefighters still working hard to contain the flames. Read more here.

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