Earthquake September 19, How did Mexicans used the internet?
On September 19 a tragic earthquake shook the center of Mexico. Mexico City, one of the largest and most populated in the world, had serious and immediate landslides. The electrical systems began to collapse, also happened with the signal of the cell phones no matter the company, some zones found Wi-Fi to communicate and others were able to access their data to get in touch with others. The emergency was immediate and the internet one of the only means that allowed the city to get information fast.
How does Wi-Fi and internet help in a disaster situation?
- The inhabitants of the CDMX opened their wifi networks so that rescuers and potential people trapped in collapses could communicate.
- Telephone companies opened their hotspot points in the city so anyone could have access to it.
- Google enabled a map that allowed to locate the landslides, shelters and collection centers.
- The citizenship narrated via twitter their location and what was happening.
- Photographs were taken of the lists of names of disappeared and rescued to bring the information to the families.
- People were able to communicate more quickly through whatsapp than over the phone line.
- Hours after the collapse, a message arrived from a trapped person specifying where he was, so he could be located and rescued in a couple of hours.
- Rescuers and brigadistas unloaded Zello, this allowed them to communicate with or without internet connection
Panic and Misinformation
The other side of the coin in relation to the use of the internet were hundreds of false messages, rumours and nonsensical warning signs. Digital tools streamline our communication but can also hinder it when the information is not verified, is not adequate and is not timely. Still, there is no doubt that keeping the internet within the reach of the majority also helped save lives.