Social Media’s Role After Earthquake

How Social Media Has Helped Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Efforts

Last week, Turkey and Syria were devastated with one of the strongest earthquakes the country has felt in the last century. With a magnitude of 7.8, more than 41,000 people were killed as of Thursday and thousands more left injured. 

[Image Creds: The New York Times]

Relief efforts, in the UK specifically according to GOV.UK, have included the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launching a Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal. “The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently in times of crisis overseas.” 

DEC members, such as the Red Cross, have been providing aid in the form of food, water and healthcare for those in need. One of the growing concerns, with over a million people displaced because of the earthquake, is temporary housing and there not being enough for everyone that needs it.  

The use of technology and social media over the course of the last week has helped many survivors and those in need in Turkey and Syria. Apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp have helped in a number of different ways. 

On Twitter, victims of the earthquake trapped under debris have tweeted messages begging for help that include their location, sending it to those with a large following in hopes someone will see it and rescue them.

Meta – the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – took immediate action in helping the crisis in Turkey and Syria. They created “Safe Check” on Facebook, allowing people to mark themselves as “OK” to notify their friends and family that they are safe. So far, hundreds of thousands of people have used this feature that is now offered to them. Meta is also working with The Turkish Red Crescent “to amplify campaigns promoting the blood donation tool on Facebook, which lets donors find nearby blood donation centres that need support.” 

On WhatsApp, Meta has partnered with AKUT, a Turkish search and rescue association. Users are able to save the number +905493014706 to their contacts, which will provide them with “secure and reliable information about donations, volunteering and rescue operations.” To get started, all they need to do is text ‘Merhaba’ (hello). 

If you are curious about ways that you can help, there are many different ways to donate and get involved in relief efforts. To donate £10 to the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, you can text HELP to 70787. According to the DEC, £10 could provide blankets to keep two people warm, £25 could provide emergency food for a family for ten days, and £50 could provide emergency shelter for two families. 

To help, visit the DEC website.

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[Feature Image Credits: AP News]
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