Dubliners take to social media to share flood news

25 Oct 2011

Screengrab of water cascading down stairs at Dundrum Town Centre shopping centre in Dublin

The equivalent of a month’s rainfall in 24 hours and the resulting flooding in areas of Dublin has residents taking to social media to share news, photos and videos of last night’s downpour and its aftermath.

Facebook messages, tweets on Twitter, videos on YouTube and photos snapped with smartphone cameras have captured scenes of cars submerged under water, water seeping onto buses and into apartment buildings, water-covered motorways and in a scene reminiscent of Titanic, water pouring into and flooding Dundrum Town Centre.

A selection of tweets about the flooding in Dublin:

“Surviving Dublin flood mayhem. Four hours in a car doing a fair impersonation of a boat.”

“Dublin is in a flood of biblical proportions. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.”

“Someone’s decking just floated down the Liffey, complete with plants!”

“Great to see my old roomie marshalling flood relief in Dublin on here. He couldn’t change a lightbulb when I lived with him.”

“Hope the Grand Canal doesn’t get any grand ideas.”

There are more than 100 videos about flooding in Dublin on YouTube at time of writing, more than two dozen photos about the floods are on Flickr, two Facebook pages – Dublin Floods October 24th 2011 and Floods in the dublin – have been created so far, and tweets about the disaster have been constant, with #whatthefliuch being a popular hashtag.

Some 67mm of rain was recorded as having fallen at Dublin Airport between 7pm on Sunday evening to 7pm yesterday, according to Met Éireann. The average rainfall for October is 68mm.

There is obvious benefit to taking to social media in times of disaster: The public can keep up-to-date on developments pertaining to transportation, the weather, and business and government operations. Friends and family can quickly let their loved ones know they are safe, and people can organise and band together for relief efforts.

Author Rebecca Solnit, The Atlantic reported, explored in her 2009 book, A Paradise Built in Hell, that crises and tragedies have a tendency elevate people and forge bonds otherwise impossible.

Take the recent riots in London – individuals used mediums such as Twitter and instant messaging to organise clean ups of riot-stricken areas.

In Ireland’s capital, Dublin City Council is responding to the floods, posting its latest news on the situation on its website, and issuing telephone numbers for anyone wanting information about its response to the disaster: 01 222 2222 (normal working hours) or 01 679 6186 (after hours).

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic