How to communicate in a disaster

UNTJ4460- PR Communication

Last weekend a 7.8 magnitude earthquake happened in Katmandu, Nepal.

While aftershocks were still hitting the region, Google and Facebook launched services that allowed people to find their loved ones. Google person finder allows for people to search for friends and family members during natural disasters. Not to be outdone, Facebook launched their service, which lets people see if they have friends or family in the disaster area and also lets people in the disaster area let their friends know they are safe.

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John Kobusch, a German climber felt the shocks of the earthquake in the form of an avalanche that tumbled down Mount Everest. He was able to film the avalanche as it happened and shared the video on YouTube (as of Friday night it has over 20 million views).

As the recovery efforts were underway, the International Committe Red Cross encouraged people on Twitter to turn on their geo-location when tweeting photos in order to help rescuers find areas that need help, since a lot of the areas affected by the earthquake are difficult to reach. Raheel Khursheed, head of news, politics and government at Twitter India helped spread the word.

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As a communications professional, it is important to know how to respond to a crisis. A natural disaster affects so many people and requires the work of many different organizations. In the social media age, when news breaks before journalists can cover it, it is important to know reliable sources to follow. As an organization, it is important to make sure that your organization makes it on lists of nonprofits to donate to or important numbers to call. You have to make sure that you are accessible to people, over the phone, online or in person.


Technology has made it so it is easy to connect with people no matter what part of the world they are in. This should mean that as an organization there are ample outlets to communicate important information to your various publics, even in times of disaster.


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