TOKYO (AFP) – People trapped under buildings that collapsed in Japan’s double earthquakes used social media to chat to friends and keep their spirits up while they awaited rescue, reports said on Sunday (April 17).
Networking apps like Line and Facebook proved a boon to victims of the powerful quakes that brought down homes, bridges and hillsides – but they were also conduits for racist scaremongering and rumours about escaped zoo animals.
One family of seven found themselves buried under debris after a 7.0-magnitude quake felled their home, barely 24 hours after the first major tremor had rocked southern Kumamoto prefecture.
Mr Hiroki Nishimura told Sports Nippon daily he and his family were sleeping in their hometown of Mashiki when Saturday’s quake struck, bringing the roof crashing in and leaving them with just 30cm of space.
The 19-year-old university student said he had been able to reach his smartphone and had fired up Line, a South Korean-owned instant messaging app.
He said he had sent messages to his friends explaining his predicament and telling them where he was.
“Everybody sent them round through other social networking apps and we got messages back that really cheered us up under there,” he told the Sports Nippon.