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Japan Earthquake & Social Media: Life-Saving Made Easier

May 13, 2022 | Maddy Rowe

As the world looked on in sadness and complete disbelief when the earthquake and tsuanami hit the country of Japan, nobody at that time would have had any idea of what impact it would have left behind. At least 15,000 lost their lives with countless injured, nearly 10,000 missing with refuges having to be set up due to people’s homes being swept away. From when reports first came in of the devastation, we gave you news of just how social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were getting involved along with Google’s person finder tool.

Its Twitter that we wanted to talk to you about today. With many injured and needing urgent medication, people were able to use the site to find where they could source those all important drugs needed to help them. Phone lines were knocked out during the 9.0 richter earthquake, and in order to get news to patients needing urgent medical attention, it was reported from that the site proved to have a huge impact on this.

Doctors Keiichi Fukuda and Yuichi Tamura said that they sent out at least tweets to 60 patients who had a rare disease needing specialist drugs. The medication was needed to prevent heart failure so without the tweets, the situation could have been a whole lot different. In a brief statement from the doctors they said, “We directly contacted 60 patients and they re-tweeted to over 100. Some couldn’t reach hospitals because they were living in disaster areas, so we took drugs to them using cars and, in one case, by helicopter.”

What do you think about social networking sites such as Twitter being used in this way? Just the other day we reported on how Mexico City are hoping to get the go ahead on being able to tweet people before an earthquake is due to hit.

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