Thursday, September 17, 2015

Digital radios in natural disasters

Chile was shaken by 8.4-magnitude earthquake last night. This is my fourth week in Syracuse and I still can’t feel calm. I love the city, its people and of course the university but since I arrived here that I haven’t take a breath. It was 6:54 pm yesterday when I arrived home. Immediately I started to receive a lot of WhatsApp messages from my family and friends in Chile. A major earthquake affected from the north to the south of my country.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center immediately extended a Tsunami Alert to Ecuador, Peru, Hawaii and of course Chile. Waves of almost 5 meters high hit all the north coast of my country and people from the south are still waiting the tsunami to come. It is the first time I'm away from home when a natural disaster occurs there. We are used to living under constant threat of climatic phenomena of proportions every 4 or 5 months. Chile is characterized for having a lot of earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and frequent natural disasters. So the first thing I decided to do was connect to the Internet and listen to digital radio national online.

A great advantage that we have today thanks to the advancement of technology: constant updates of the major world events in real time. It is in times of crisis that makes it even more necessary to have such services through Internet. I was worried about my family and friends. I did not know where they were, if the earth was still moving and if the authorities had said something about it. The apartment where I am living now had not even traditional radio to listen to   local radio frequencies but if I had my cell, where I could connect to Chilean digital radios and hear the latest news until 2am. It was a relief.

What happened made me think about the benefits of living in a digital age. Without Internet I would not have been able to hear from my relatives nor of the situation of crisis affecting my country. Internet has changed many aspects of our daily lives, our consumption habits and the way we relate to the environment.

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