In the first two days after a donate button for Nepal earthquake disaster relief efforts was placed atop Facebook pages, more than half a million people donated $10 million to the International Medical Corps, Mashable reports. The social networking giant also pledged to match up to $2 million in donations for relief efforts.
Social media tools such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Google have become essential to the coordination of relief and recovery efforts after major disasters, making it easier to share images from affected areas, no matter how remote, and to direct assistance to people in need. Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck a remote area northwest of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu on April 25, leaving at least six thousand people dead, more than seven million people in the area have used the "safety check" tool to mark themselves as safe on their Facebook profile. Google also launched a "Person Finder" to enable survivors of the quake to look for or share information about loved ones who are missing.
"In times of crisis, the need to connect and share becomes even more critical," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. "WhatsApp and Messenger are being used in Nepal and across the region to get help. Aid workers are using Groups to coordinate and figure out how to get to affected areas. Journalists and media outlets are using Instagram as their primary way to share photos of the events. It is inspiring to see our community coming together to help people in their time of need. We're grateful to be serving you, and for all your efforts to support those affected by the Nepal earthquake."