Recently, the Philippines was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Typhoon Yolanda), unofficially dubbed as the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to hit land, with wind speeds up to 195 miles per hour (Hurricane Katrina was measured at 175 miles per hour). It has left some parts of the country in shambles, with more than 10,000 people believed to be dead in Tacloban alone, one of the cities that received the brunt of the storm. Now that the typhoon is over, various countries and organizations all over the world are promising to come to the Philippines’ rescue in the form of financial aid, equipment, and volunteers.
Additionally, various well-known Web companies are already providing services in their own ways. According to a spokesperson, Google is providing a relief grant to non-government organizations working on the ground – they’ve also launched a landing page with constantly updating resources for Haiyan, including Person Finder, a tool that is currently hosting more than 40,000 records of missing people. Instant messaging service Viber – which has a wide user base in the Philippines – has launched a temporary service that allows Filipino users to call regular (non Viber) numbers outside of the Philippines for free, making it easier for citizens to touch base with their loved ones abroad.
It’s beyond awful to be bombarded by news of a recent natural disaster, and it’s even more devastating for people who were on-site when it happened. But you don’t have to sit in front of your computer feeling depressed over the torrent of social media coverage Typhoon Haiyan is receiving. Armed with a computer and an Internet connection, there’s actually a lot you can do.
1. Make your concerns count