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Since Hurricane Florence’s landfall Friday morning, the storm caused severe damage to the mid-lower East Coast, with a reported four fatalities thus far. While locals have been advised to evacuate the premises, not all have. However, it turns out that social media can play a crucial role in communication during natural disasters. In an extensive twitter thread, New York Times journalist Kendra Pierre-Louis warns Twitter users not to abuse the Hurricane Florence hashtag as a safety measure.
One last note, that comes by @mikamckinnon
Those of us not in the storm track should avoid using the storm hash tag once it kicks up. People will likely be turning to social for help and we’ll be cluttering up one of their only remaining life lines.
— Kendra “Gloom is My Beat” Pierre-Louis (@KendraWrites) September 12, 2018
With power sapped from 620,000 civilians in the Carolinas already, social media can be a potential lifeline to those without other means of communication. By hashtagging the hurricane for any business that isn’t directly related to a news update or someone’s personal safety, you may actually be drowning out a cry for help.
Pierre-Louis elaborates in a later tweet that North Carolina utility has stated on record that parts of the state will be left without power for weeks. “If you manage to survive the storm, and the flooding, without electricity it’s going to be tough to get help,” says Pierre-Louis on her Twitter account. “Really think it through.”
If you have yet to evacuate and are in need of updates, FEMA’s twitter account will be providing live updates of Florence as well as safety tips.
To provide relief to Hurricane Florence victims, TPG compiled a short list of ways you can help. And remember, hashtag with caution!
Featured Image by SOPA Images via Getty Images
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