Micro blogs play key role in rail disaster

SHANGHAI – Micro blogs were an important platform for sharing information about the rail accident that killed at least 35 people and injured 192 in Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, on Saturday.

An SOS message from the scene was posted by a netizen named Yangjuan Quanyang on her micro blog at 8:47 pm, minutes after the accident.

“Help, the train D301 is derailed just ahead of South Wenzhou Station, passengers are crying and we cannot find any train crew, please help us!”

This post was among the first few micro-blogging items from survivors of the accident and was soon forwarded more than 112,000 times at the Twitter-like Sina Weibo website.

Yangjuan Quanyang sent out her second SOS micro-blogging message at 9:05 pm. The two pieces of information were widely cited by netizens and domestic media.

Netizens around the country relaxed a bit only after Yangjuan Quanyang micro-blogged about her rescue by police at 10:45 pm.

There was another SOS delivered online almost at the same time by a passenger, named Lugege, on train D3115. He said the train was slanting off the track and the electrical power was off. He then posted several taken pictures of the crashed train through his mobile phone.

Seven minutes before the collision, a resident living near the scene, whose online name was Smm_miao, saw the train stop unexpectedly, and micro-blogged it to express her worries about the safety of passengers.

After the accident was confirmed, journalists and media organizations have been using micro-blogging platforms to release to the public the latest information, such as the number of dead and injured passengers.

Celebrities also used their popularity to spread messages about the accident.

The names of injured passengers who have been sent to hospitals were published online and updated regularly.

Someone posted a photo of an injured man who was unconscious and had no proof of identity in an attempt to find his relatives.

Because injured passengers were sent to hospitals, authorities called for blood donations through micro blogs two hours after the accident, resulting in more than 1,000 netizens promptly donating blood. A photo posted by a netizen that showed crowd of people in a blood donation station was soon circulated.

In addition, lots of people were trying to find their missing friends and relatives via Sina micro blogs. By 5:30 pm on Sunday, messages seeking information on missing person had been forwarded more than 80,000 times.

Information, such as volunteers who could provide free transport to families of the injured, can be found on the website.

The number of messages about the train crash had reached 4 million at Sina Weibo by 7 pm on Sunday.

In addition, government officials of Zhejiang province were also writing micro blog messages about the latest developments in the situation.

Zheng Jiwei, vice-governor of Zhejiang province, posted on his micro blog at t.qq.com around 2 am on Sunday: “When disaster comes, medical aid capability depends on two essential factors: medical personnel and blood. Wenzhou has relatively strong medical aid capability compared with other places in the province. The two factors could be ensured after the provincial medical team and medical teams from Taizhou city and Lishui county arrived at the scene.”

China Daily

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