Tornados and storms hit Raleigh, North Carolina today in yet another disaster facing our country. There were two days of horrendous storms and tornados that killed 22 people and left hundreds if not thousands more displaced. Power and telephone lines are out for these people as well, leaving only one way for them to communicate with the outside world and for the outside world to communicate with Raleigh: technology.
In the old days, when power and phone lines went out, there was no way to communicate with anyone who wasn’t in your immediate vicinity. You didn’t know if anybody else even knew what was going on in your neck of the woods. You could be isolated in a bubble with no way of knowing if anyone was coming to burst it and save your life and well-being. But now, thanks to the Internet, Smartphones and technology in general, those days are long behind us.
Technology and the Internet are the only way these people without any other amenities will be able to talk to us for the time being. This is similar to what happened in Japan when guests speaking to news reporters from Japan had to communicate via Skype. Without that, there very well may have been no way of talking to them outside of Twitter and Facebook statuses.
But thanks to amenities like 3G on Smartphones and laptops, there is a way for these people to speak out and have their voices heard even within the throes of a natural disaster. This happened in New Orleans too after Hurricane Katrina, when these kinds of technologies, while available, weren’t nearly as ubiquitous. Rants were posted on YouTube, which were then reenacted on HBO’s Treme, for the world to see. You, from the outside world could see what was going on in disaster laden territories.
There are statuses on Twitter from the government of Raleigh, people from Raleigh and those who were displaced by the natural disasters.
There is also the potential to send text messages, as Rutgers did last night for the shootings on College and Easton Aves during the blood soaked Rutgersfest 2011, and give warnings that are pushed to the consumer and reader about how to prepare for these disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
While we may never be able to completely halt natural disasters or even prepare for them adequately, technology is helping us see what it’s like for the people inside so hopefully we’ll be able to have some kind of perspective and focus at least a little more of our time and energy on preparing for these disasters and helping their victims if we can’t.