Social Media and Disaster Management
The way social media is responding to disasters is setting some exemplary standards in India. Be it the recent floods, cyclones that struck the east coast or the earthquakes of Himalayas, social media is encouraging more people to express their innate empathy and fraternal feeling towards those languishing in distress.
Media like Facebook, Twitter and other short message services are making it easy for people to connect with their dear ones stuck in the crisis. Helpline numbers and to the point Twitter hash tags makes the rescue and relief operations inclusive, extensive and humanitarian. People from all walks of life, irrespective of their caste, religion or occupation throw open their homes, offices, and other facilities for the unknowns in distress.
It is interesting to observe that,public nowadays check immediately into social media to receive information about their relatives and friends. The parent firms of such media also makes it a point to introduce facilities for searching, reporting safety, details of rescue and relief operations etc. With the trending tags and links, a holistic mapping of the disaster is also possible. The big data thus collected can be used for assessing the pros and cons in disaster management policies of the state.
It is also heartening to note that, people across the globe are following the trend, be it in times of natural disaster or man made violence. Terrorist attacks, kidnappings by extremist groups and the like also triggers strong social media responses, that are hard to ignore for the government and its administrative bodies.
Now policy makers consider drawing up the social media responses in preparing disaster management packages suiting larger number of people. The Indian government too needs to harness the hints and tweak it to fit in emergency situations. Such timely interventions can help much in reducing the losses, both human and economical.