What's Trending in Social Networking Sites in the Aftermath?

Kathmandu, May 6: The full extent of the destruction in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake followed by scores of numbing aftershocks is unfolding with a sour taste.

The natural calamity struck in the most unexpected time and with a callous tone bringing death to thousands of lives while leaving many with an insufferable future ahead.

In this day and age of Facebook and Tweeter, people who have made it alive comparatively safer have took to the social networking sites to vent their shock, fury, dismay and spontaneously start a general wave of ad-hoc campaign of search, rescue and relief operation.

The Facebook pages of the survivors and those showing solidarity are full of posts and dismal pictures of the havoc wrecked by the earthquake.

A string of hashtags have started trending in the social sites while the emergence of new ones continues. #PrayForNepal has been one of the most widely circulated hashtag including #helpNepal, #StopAidAbuse, #StayStrongNepal, #NepalQuake, #Wewillbounceback and #workforNepal among many others. The hashtag #gohomeindianmedia is trending through Facebook and Twitter from Sunday after a series of incidents in which the Indian media outlets covering the news in Nepal have been accused of biasness and insensitive reporting, and of showing utter disrespect to Nepal and the quake victims.

The social networking sites have also seen a barrage of vituperative allegations and accusations against the political parties, leaders and their henchmen. The pent-up feelings among the general masses tired of perpetual corruption have now erupted. The Facebook pages are now witnessing an extensive outpouring of diatribe directed at the political rank and file for failure to deliver the country from poverty, privation and under development manifest in lack of proper road access, dangerous road connection, prolonged power outages and inefficient water supply system. The frustration of the people is natural for these are the fundamental pillars of development that are absent or lacking in Nepal.

 For example, a satirical comic strip with speech balloons is circulating widely which depicts top leaders as Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, main opposition leader UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, senior leader from the same party Dr Baburam Bhattarai, CPN (UML) Chair KP Sharma Oli and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal Chair Kamal Thapa with their real photos. In the comic strip, PM Koirala tells UCPN (Maoist) Chair that the large amount of donations must be equally divided among the leaders. Dahal says that he was very weak in math. Dr Baburam Bhattarai chips in berating the leaders as thieves that cannot even use a calculator. Then in another subsequent speech balloon, KP Oli uses an expletive and calls the leaders thieves. Then RPPN Chair Thapa says, 'Look another thief has spoken!'

 The people are ranting against the government for its apparent incompetence in delivering the quake victims from a prolonged draught of relief packages. 'Let's go to Sindhupalchowk' has also started trending as the government has been painstakingly slow in delivering relief packages to the district with worst casualties and entire villages leveled.

 The Nepali people from all over the world and the country have found a way of expressing their solidarity with the victims' cause and expressing their grief emanating from the catastrophe to ravage their country by changing their profile pictures and wall photos. The people are using photos with slogans, ruined temples and monuments enlisted as constituents of the World Heritage Sites, the great Himalayas and landmark Dharahara tower. In the midst of all this a new trend swiftly took over reading 'Pray' Work for Nepal with the initial word ‘Pray’ slashed with a streak of line in the middle. This is to indicate Nepal is in need of substantial support more than the intangible 'prayer' to tackle and contain the tumult unleashed by the massive earthquake.

 The pictures of missing foreigners and Nepali people with details including the location from they made the last contact before disappearing have been 'shared' and circulated emphatically. This has at least informed the mass of who has gone missing and from where, and helped keep hopes alive.

 On a more creative front, the sharing of ideas, information and ways of making temporary shelters from tarpaulin sheets and creating tents have made great contribution in the ongoing rescue and relief operations in the field. The sharing of emergency helpline service contact numbers, precautionary measures during earthquake, hygiene techniques and call for more tents, relief materials and information on rural locations awaiting rescue and relief have also gone viral.

 The pictures of once artistic, beautiful and ancient-time cities, pristine rural villages and towns now overturned into a brooding and gloomy landscape have provided access to the world community into the heart of the devastation and wreckage. The photos of the dead trapped under the rubbles with miserable faces smeared in dust, buildings torn apart, historical monuments leveled, alleys rendered inaccessible, multiple village settlements razed to the ground and the remaining stump of the landmark Dharahara tower have spoken more than the words.

 In the aftermath, many social communities have sprouted with the onset of the unprecedented scale of disaster and an endless series of aftershocks pummeling half of the country in relentless waves.

 'Help for Sindhupalchowk', 'Earthquake Action Nepal,' 'Lets Join Together To Help Nepal', 'Team Greeley from Colorado to Help Nepal', 'Black Day 25th April 2015 for Nepal', 'Nepal Earthquake Survivors Relief Fund', 'Rise up Nepal', 'Strictly Missing Person Only-Nepal Earthquake 2015', 'Kathmandu Earthquake Volunteers', 'Go Home Indian Media', 'Kathmandu Living Labs', ‘Black Saturday Nepal’ and 'Help Earthquake Relief Nepal (HERN)' are some of the many communities that have surfaced driven with a common objective - to help Nepal. 

   The people are rallying for support to the quake victims while also criticizing the politicians. There are multiple slogan bearing photos showing that the people are now fed up with 601 Constituent Assembly members and all the senior leaders. On the other hand, the armed forces particularly the Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force (APF) including Nepal Police and the rescue units from all over the world have been praised unstintingly for their altruistic efforts.

 As the country reels under the mounting death toll, which has already surpassed 7,500 with distressing signals that it may climb further, and the unimaginable extent of the crisis, people are trying their level best in the field and from social networking sites to garner more support and aid for the quake victims. RSS

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