Japanese Earthquake: How Technology Can Bring People Together in a Crisis

As you probably know by now, yesterday a series of major earthquakes struck off the coast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time. One of the earthquakes measured a nearly incomprehensible 8.9 in magnitude. Tsunami warnings, watches, and advisories are in effect in multiple locations.

The video footage of the resulting tsunamis is one of the most terrifying things I think I've ever seen. It's truly the stuff of nightmares, all that water just devastating everything in its wake.

As Japan begins to deal with the aftermath of this disaster, people are naturally looking to get in touch with their loved ones—and we all want to know how we can help. Thanks to Google and the Red Cross, I've got a few amazing tech resources to share with you.


Both Google and the Red Cross have applications for people searching for information about friends and family after today's disasters. Google's person-finder application allows people to enter their information so friends and family can know they're safe, and if you're looking for someone, you can also search by name to see if they've posted a status update.

The Japan earthquake version of this Google tool currently lists about 5,500 records, but the number is quickly rising. Google does warn users that it can't review or verify the accuracy of the data.

The American Red Cross has a similar application, available on its website at Safe and Well.

Google has also launched an online crisis center, which also shows up at the top of searches for “Japan earthquake” and similar phrases. Google’s Crisis Center shows a map of the earthquake, the latest related news, and lists linking to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, and train and blackout information.

Lastly, while there will likely be earthquake-specific charities in the days to come, you can help right now just by using your cell phone. Text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.

Do you have any additional resources to share, or feedback about the ones listed?

Image via YouTube

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