We who live in Brazil are fortunate that – among so many problems – we are in a country that is not often hit by natural disasters. However, we are not entirely immune to this: Considering the floods and dark droughts that have occurred in different parts of the year, or tragedies that are not as natural as the breaking of the dams in Minas Gerais, we also have our dose of serious misfortunes.
Even so, a news recently announced by Facebook deserves attention. From now on, the world's largest social network will integrate WhatsApp into its disaster relief tool, allowing users to offer victims help through their profiles and connect directly to them through the messenger.
If you have never come across the disaster relief tool, it works quite simply. If your area is struck by an emergency, you can offer victims help on Facebook by simply posting it on their timeline – just fill in the text what exactly you are offering (such as a room in your house, groceries or clothes) and affected people will be able to contact you directly.
Previously, this contact could only be made through Facebook Messenger, but now Mark Zuckerberg's network is expanding functionality to WhatsApp – which is great considering the notorious Zap is the most widely used communication medium in a lot of countries ( including Brazil).
Integration with WhatsApp is not the only new feature of the disaster relief tool. From now on, users can, in addition to offering help, provide the public with information they think is important – such as the collapse of a building or the closing of a road, for example. It will be possible to include photos and videos in the posts, too (before, it was possible to include only text).
In addition, Facebook has announced that it will now share its disaster maps (which are updated in real time and maintained with data from organizations and users) with organizations and government agencies. This will allow official rescue and relief services to use network information to act faster and more efficiently.
The news of the tool is already available – and as much as we expect we will never need to use it, it's good to know that they are already with us.