The cyber world has been abuzz for the past few days with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter posting up-to-the-minute news about relief and rescue operations in Metro Manila due to the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana).
Concerned netizens have posted emergency hotlines, rescue requests from people stranded in the flood complete with contact numbers and addresses as well as location for relief goods drop-off on their Facebook status and Twitter updates.
As of this writing, the Philippines was the No. 1 trending topic (most popular topic) for the day and placed No. 5 for the week on Twitter.
Evelyn Bombay, an Administration Assistant working in Doha whose family lives in Valenzuela, Philippines, one of the areas hit hard by the flood, hasn’t been able to contact her family yet because telephone lines were still down in their area.
“But I was able to see the damage caused by the flood in our place through the photos and videos posted on Facebook,” she told The Peninsula.
With lines of traditional communication still down, wireless networks have provided another way to be in touch and the internet has become one of the fastest mediums in disseminating the latest news and information from the ground.
“Wireless is wireless. You just need a device that can access wireless signals with full battery power and you have the means to communicate in times of emergency,” a Filipino IT professional working for a major oil & gas company here, whose family in Marikina was deeply affected by the flood, said.
Social networking sites have also been used to call on the large overseas Filipino workers communities worldwide to mobilize and help in fundraising efforts for the flood victims.
Bank account numbers of major foundations and charities in the Philippines have been posted on blogs with links to their official website while Facebook users have been posting information where overseas Filipinos can send donations within the country that they currently work.
Filipino community leaders in Qatar have also responded to the call of the Philippine Embassy here for relief efforts by deciding to hold fundraising activities to benefit the families and relatives of overseas Filipino workers who suffered from the flood.
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