Uncategorized 02 May 2011 04:21 pm

YouTube Instrumental in Help for Japanese City

On March 24th, Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai of Minamisoma, Japan recorded and uploaded a video to YouTube, desperately pleading for help. His city, a mere 15 miles from a malfunctioning Japanese nuclear power plant, faced starvation because it’s inhabitants were trapped in their homes and shelters due to the nuclear alert. Still devastated from the earthquake and 60-foot tsunami, Miniamisoma residents were in dire need of assistance.

The video, titled “SOS from Minamisoma Mayor,” has received well over 200,000 views on YouTube and residents from Miniamisoma are getting help from viewers around the world. The city has received hundreds of boxes of food and supplies for individuals and truckloads from organizations. Many of those who have sent supplies say that it was in response to the YouTube video.

Today, weeks after the video’s release, Miniamisoma is still receiving donations and the city is beginning to return to its normal operations. Businesses are opening again and citizens are slowly emerging from their homes, even despite the orders recommending inhabitants to stay indoors.

This amazing story highlights one of the endless opportunities that the Internet and social media have created. A simple YouTube video gave hope to a city that was lost and nonexistent to the world. Traditional media disappeared from Miniamisoma because of the nuclear threat, but new media opened doors of communication and essentially gave a city the means to survive.

Jaclyn Klein

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