Kaikoura Earthquake: Engaging communities through Facebook Live

Publié: 26 janvier 2017 14:22 CET

Three months after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand, the New Zealand Red Cross is continuing its work in supporting affected communities. The quake, the second largest the country has experienced, killed two people and injured 58 others. An estimated 41 houses and buildings were destroyed, while road, rail, water and sewerage networks suffered massive disruption.


At the height of the emergency, more than 140 New Zealand Red Cross staff and volunteers were mobilised to run community centres, go door to door and distribute food, water and other essential relief supplies. Damage caused to the water, sewerage and septic systems have raised concerns about the risk of waterborne diseases, as many of the affected rural residents are practicing open defecation on their properties.


Australian Red Cross communications delegate, Susan Cullinan, and International Water and Sanitation delegate, Yee Chen, organised several Facebook Live sessions on the New Zealand Red Cross Facebook page (with a following of 24,000 followers) to engage directly with local communities on vital health messaging. The sessions also aimed at building understanding of Red Cross work on the ground and to drive a wider audience to the New Zealand Red Cross earthquake appeal. 


The Facebook live events attracted big audiences and allowed viewers to ask questions and provide comments and feedback in real time. During one of the sessions, Yee live-streamed a demonstration of washing up and showering with minimal water from the house of local elderly residents. Her techniques consisted of how to make water safe for use, washing up, rinsing and reusing waste water in the garden.


“Live-streaming these demonstrations is a more effective way of reaching a wider audience in a short amount of time. We had 8,000 views for this demonstration,” said Yee. “It would otherwise be difficult for some of the residents to travel from where they are to reach us just to learn these techniques. Because these sessions are recorded, the audiences can also go back and view them again to verify anything they have missed.”


Another demonstration, involving child-friendly hygiene practices, was livestreamed with school children at the Kaikoura Primary School. The demonstration took place using innovative mobile hand washing stations built by Red Cross volunteers using timber pallets, water bladders, soap and plastic trays to collect the waste water. The event attracted 13,000 views.


Both videos can be accessed by visiting https://www.facebook.com/NewZealandRedCross/videos/