Google plays its part
Google has activated its Person Finder app to help the victims of the Japanese tsunami. Work started on this app after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2010, when different agencies that were helping in the aftermath, were finding it hard to share information about suspected missing people. The same app has been used before to help the victims of the 2011 New Zealand Earthquake, The Egyptian Protests and I suspect will be used to aid in any disasters that happen in the future.
The English version of Person Finder can be found here: People Finder
The idea is that details of anyone who has been involved in the tsunami disaster can be entered into a database that is searchable by friends and relatives. Such details as their current location, Health, and messages can be entered. In the wake of such disasters, power and phone lines get destroyed and the victims and helpers may find it hard to make contact with relatives. Over 4,000 entries where made within the first few hours of its activation and it is believed that this will rise to tens of thousands over the next few days. Although the tool can be useful for finding information about a friend or a loved one, Google warns users that it doesn’t review or verify the accuracy of the data. Furthermore, all data entered will be available to the public, as well as viewable and usable by everyone.
Twitter lends a hand
The micro blogging site twitter has become a resource for up to date information on the tsunami. The top trending # tags on twitter being #prayforjapan and #tsunami. Mashable.com has reported that tweets from Japan were hitting such heights as 1,200 tweets per second during the disaster. Taking information from the U.S Geological Survey, @EQTW is giving constant updates on the location and height of the tsunami via tweets.