Dozens of earthquakes shook Japan over the past few days and has crippled this island nation, and led authorities to speculate that the southern island of Japan may split due to the high seismic activity. What’s more alarming is that Japan’s seismic episode was only one among the five that rocked countries across the globe within a short span of two days. Japan’s southern island Kyushu now sports massive cracks that are transforming the island and possibly breaking it as well.
Amidst all the chaos and the ongoing efforts to rescue stranded people across the nation, is the beacon of hope – social media. Many of the popular social media platforms such as Facebook and South Korean-owned Line helped stranded earthquake victims connect with friends and relatives. A 19-year old university student, Hiroki Nishimura, talked about the harrowing incident where his family was buried under their home with just 30 centimeters of space between them. Nishimura was able to find his smartphone and connect with friends through Line. Many like Nishimura credit the social media platforms such as Line, for providing them with moments of comfort during the difficult time. They were able to stay connected to the outside world thanks to these services. Within an hour of the collapse, Nishimura’s family was rescued and moved to an evacuation center.
According to JapanToday.com:
“At least 41 people are known to have died in the double quakes, which sparked enormous landslides that sent tons of mud and rocks crashing through settlements. Up to 11 people are still missing, and there are fears of further mudslides after heavy overnight rain and with continuing aftershocks.”
The employees of Seifusou Hot Spring Hotel in picturesque Minami Aso also took to social media to provide information about the 50 guests and staff that were stranded due to the landslides. When the troops evacuated the hotel, the employees updated their hotel’s official page with the news as well.
Of course, amidst all the wonderful tales of warmth, there were some darker stories of scaremongering. Some people decided to spread false stories on social media about escaped zoo animals, just to add to the panic. Yet another thoughtless tweet said that Koreans were poisoning the water supplies in Kumamoto.
We have all heard the many stories debating whether social media is a boon or a bane. It is in times such as this that we see what a powerful tool it can be. Instantly informing scores of panicked people about the whereabouts of loved ones is definitely a moment to cheer.