Session Notes: Responding to Disaster and Crisis

Session notes taken by Natalia Neira

Christian Pena (chile-Canada) and Portnoy Cheng Kuo Wei (Taiwan):

1. Taiwan suffered flooding last year: social media important to deal with crisis.

-Late government response. Govt. is physically located in northern Taiwan. Flooding was in the South.
-We used and even invented social media to deal with this crisis.
2. Open up the floor to listen to disaster experiences in the group:

- (U.S.) It’s still the mass media that have immediate access to the population after a disaster. Electricity is often cut out, making radio the leading source of information. Other times the internet and other medias can be the main source.

- (Chile) Technology can give us an early warning to disasters. -Person-finder tool. – A lot of people who live abroad need to be connected. These are examples of how useful this tech. can be.

- (Chile) Personal Chilean earthquake experience, loss of communication: no cell phone signals, no phones, etc. I found that using the internet was the only way to find people.

- A Chilean engineer asks ‘Does your country have the infrastructure to handle a crisis?’ He says that in Chile we don’t have the infrastructure to handle internet connections and cell phone signals, which failed after the earthquake.

-Haiti and Indonesia: The distinction between Haitian media and International media. Local media is there to be a tool for the people- to inform where the clean water is, for example. Meanwhile, international media is there to report for the world, to take pictures and that’s it. That is not crisis response media.

- Haiti: Thousands of text messages, twitter, etc were great ways of getting source from the ground but there is a lot of re-tweeting. The U.S. coastguard etc, where the ones using the information the most.

-Crisis shows where the country is frail. The Haiti Case is a multimedia project.

-Information overload is not necessarily a problem.

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