• The Japan Crisis illustrates a growing need for detailed earthquake and tsunami related information while evoking a deep sense of concern towards natural disasters

PHILLIPINES, 15 March 2011 – As Japan grapples from the aftermath of one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, people all over the world resorted to prayers while seeking more information on the disaster. In an attempt to find out the top concerns of online users during this recent earthquake catastrophe, Yahoo! has meticulously aggregated searches from all over APAC (includes Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Southeast Asia) to reveal detailed information on the most searched keywords - ‘Earthquake’ and ‘Tsunami’.

Yahoo! Search Trends witnessed a sharp spike in a short period of time relating to the news and information on the Japan earthquake and tsunami. In Taiwan, ‘earthquake’ and ‘tsunami’ related search queries increased 80,000% in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake. In Hong Kong, the search volume for keyword ‘earthquake’ spiked 4,000% and ‘tsunami’ 10,600% and both have remained the most searched keywords since then. Similarly, Korea witnessed a spike of 23,520% on the term ‘earthquake’ and 40,025% for ‘tsunami’. All of this reveals the deep impact the earthquake has rendered in the minds and hearts of people across APAC.

Users also resorted to making specific keywords searches with some variations such as ‘Japan earthquake’, ‘Japan tsunami’, ‘earthquake 2011’, ‘Japanese tsunami 2011’. In Singapore and Malaysia, the keyword ‘Japan tsunami’ had an increase of 30,450% and 9,100% respectively just within a day after the tsunami struck. Apart from specific keywords, APAC users looked out for graphical imagery of the disaster with searches on maps, videos and images of the disaster observing a significant spike.

With the news of the impact of the massive earthquake on the nuclear reactor and the fear of a nuclear meltdown, inquiries pertaining to nuclear energy, radiation, meltdown and its effects rose in significant numbers. Yahoo! Search Trends findings also revealed that this unfortunate tragedy has reminded users of Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in 1986. Searches on Chernobyl disaster, explosion, Chernobyl radioactive clouds was observed. Evidence of people being reminiscent of the past disasters also reflected in the Philippine searches for ‘ring of fire’ and ‘fault line map’, further illustrating the growing concern of the Filipinos and a stark reminder of their country’s vulnerability to quakes.

The search count on Yahoo! with regards to predictions and prophecies on the Japanese disaster, the ‘Nikkei” and ‘Tokyo stock exchange’, movies with disaster scenes like “Sinking of Japan”, “2012” and “The Day after Tomorrow” and rumoured death of Japanese personalities such as creator of Pokemon, Hello Kitty, actress Maria Ozawa, has been on the rise since the earthquake struck Japan.

A global concern and unified initiative

In times like this, we often see the softer side of people, their willingness to reach out and show solidarity at the time of crisis. In an effort to raise awareness, Yahoo! Answers in Singapore posted questions to educate online users - “What is the difference between a tsunami and a tidal wave because some broadcasters use the words interchangeably?”

A noteworthy observation by Yahoo! Search Trends was on the searches for the latest news updates and information on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the Philippines, there was a drastic increase in the searches like ‘Tsunami Japan 2011’, ‘Earthquake Japan Tsunami’, and ‘Japan Earthquake and Tsunami’. Among the most searched topics, the Filipinos were also searching on several earthquake-related terms specifically to the Philippines on how susceptible the Philippines is to an earthquake. Some searches are ‘Philippines Fault Line Map’, ‘Pacific Ring of Fire Map’ and ‘Marikina Fault Line’.

Yahoo! too has pledged support to Japan during this unfortunate tragedy. Amongst several of its initiatives for the disaster, Yahoo! News is providing ‘How to Help links’ and the Yahoo! Frontpage is featuring a modified logo that drives traffic to its ‘How to Help links’.

Further, Yahoo! Korea is conducting an online campaign to raise funds of up to KRW 50 million for Japan earthquake relief in partnership with World Vision on its donation page, ‘Yahoo! Nanuri’ (http://kr.news.yahoo.com/nanuri/). This campaign which began on March 13, is in tandem with the global Yahoo! initiative for Japan and was the first such initiative among industry players to reach out to the on-line audience. As of March 14, Yahoo! Korea received donations of up to KRW 3,557,000.

Yahoo! Taiwan has raised US$1.17M for Red Cross and other non-profit organisations. Yahoo! Taiwan’s News' Face Book account has generated nearly 400,000 users participating in the action of "Pray for Japan" on Wretch and has seen more than 3500 blogs posted.

Yahoo!Kimo Charity, a platform that plays a bridging role to link up users and beneficiaries through the assistance of Non-profit Organisations from various fields, has raised NT 30 million dollars in donations within 72 hours and has further added 2 projects to source for an additional NT 10 million fund-raising.

Within Yahoo!, the company will match up to $1,000 per calendar year for gifts made to non-profit organisations by each of its full-time employees. Yahoo! deeply empathises with the people of Japan and would like to encourage the online community to get the latest and most relevant news from the Yahoo! site. We urge all to reach out and donate to our NGO partners on the Yahoo! platform and showcase a united front to help rebuild Japan.

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