Response #2: Examining the Role of Grassroots Communication in helping Philippines Cope with Disaster

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm

In the recent years, global disasters, specifically floods have inflicted much damage and suffering to those living around the world. Not since 2005, in the United States with Hurricane Katrina, have so many people seemed so helpless and in need of support than this weekend in the Philippines after Typhoon Ketsana.

The Washington Post reported that the government of Philippines has appealed for international help to deal with the aftermath of the devastating floods that have killed 240 and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

In an article posted by the New York Times, it states, “although the storm cut power, telephone and water supply in many areas, Internet connections were generally not affected. On Facebook and Twitter, many Filipinos called out for help and shared their grief. The social networks proved helpful as the hotlines of the government’s disaster agencies were swamped with calls.”

This power of social media networks, describes how people who were facing death and or are in need of serious help relied on forms of internet communications such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to give details and create buzz of the disaster and the extent of the damage. After analyzing how fast news of the disaster was disseminated through the examples above, I began to think how a properly executed grassroots campaign could be implemented for the government of Philippines in order to raise funds to rebuild the broken lives of their citizens and move on from this catastrophe.

For thousands of years, humans have had to rely on governments, non-profit organizations and large summed donations from single parties for disaster relief efforts, if lucky enough to get aid. Now thanks to the Internet and social media applications, anyone who feels connected to an issue or wants to become a fan of an organization on Facebook can easily make an in-kind donation by touch of a button. Never before have people been so viral with news, video, and commentary from millions around the world on one platform, than Facebook.


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