There have been countless stories about how social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter were instrumental catalysts in getting information across during the first hours of Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana (and later, Typhoon Pepeng/Parma). Here’s one such inspiring story from the Philippine Red Cross.
Dennis Mendiola, Governor of the Philippine Red Cross (and also known as the co-founder of instant messaging giant Chikka.com), posted this account as a comment on my Facebook wall, which details how an RT’ed Tweet with Dick Gordon‘s number ended up saving lives. Gordon in this case is of course the Philippine senator and head of the local Red Cross.
Guess how the Red Cross saved lives on Sept 26 – the height of Ondoy’s rage? Someone tweeted Gordon’s cellphone. Then it got RT’d all over. People in need of help sent text messages to friends and family who were on more stable grounds and many overseas.
Then help requests came gushing in the thousands into Gordon’s phone, prompting him to replace his phone three times (because Nokia e90s get painfully slow at 1,000 unread messages with endless more streaming in).
Then cries for help were also being RT’d. Then they found @philredcross and @redcross143 on Twitter and the email address email@example.com. The same got reposted on Facebook. At the end of the 12-hour marathon session of coordinating rescue efforts with our 7 teams of rescuers, hundreds were saved…
JG (Puzon) was there. He was in charge of farming out each request for help to the rescue teams while we peons did write each SOS on Post- Its. TRUE STORY.
The Philippine Red Cross is still accepting online donations via Paypal on its website. And if you think the urgency has past, just take a look at this video: