Filipinos turn to social networking after typhoon

Internet users in the Philippines use social networking sites to galvanise relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Kestana

Internet users in the Philippines turned to blogs and social networking sites to initiate relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Kestana, or "Ondoy" as it is known to the local community.

The country was severely hit by the typhoon last weekend, which saw torrential rains and massive flooding across most of Manila and nearby areas in Luzon.

According to the government, the continuous downpour was the highest recorded in the country since 1967 and has left at least 70 dead and thousands homeless.

Aside from providing up-to-the-minute updates, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites have been used to galvanise relief efforts in the wake of the flooding. Numerous blogs provided contact details and other pertinent information on the various assistance schemes early on Sunday, when flood waters started to recede.

One Filipino blogger listed other blogs that posted photos of flooded areas, traffic updates, information on relief goods, as well as online appeals for help to stranded victims. Some blogs used Google Maps to provide data on severely hit areas that should receive priority in relief efforts.

Twitter was also extensively used for the campaign. Numerous tweets were exchanged to provide updates on relief efforts. One member initiated a personal campaign to solicit help and maintains a list of relief goods, such as water and other basic food items.

The site also manages a list of volunteers that have signed up to help with the distribution of relief goods and relevant information such as contact details, telephone numbers, addresses and locations where donors and volunteers can coordinate efforts.


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