Academic Master

Education, Human Resource And Management

The Effects of social Media in UAE Emergency Management

Abstract— In this paper we propose the importance and effects of social media in the United Arab Emirates emergency management. Social media platforms like Facebook and twitter can be of great use in the situation of emergency. A number of examples have been quoted in the paper for the clarification of the topic. However, the emergency situation and their cure with social media have also been mentioned.

Keywords—Social Media United Arab Emirates, Emergency situations


The exceeding number of hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters makes us realize that we are far away from being prepared for emergencies. Due to such disasters, the society faces direct damage concerning injuries, deaths or loss of property. Though modern technologies such as remote sensing and GIS is used to observe such events and to assess how severe they were, still it has not been completely realized in emergency situations. Moreover, the geospatial information that the government provides is inappropriate due to higher cost and a long cycle of production. In such situations, social media had a great impact on emergency management. For instance, a storm occurred on the island of Dominica on 27 August 2015. [1] It caused immense damage to the island as it washed out all the roads and villages. The prime minister of Dominica used Facebook to stay tuned for the welfare of people and on the wellbeing of the status of the relief efforts. It would have been really difficult and hard for the prime minister to provide such information without social media. In 2005,[2] Hurricane Katrina damaged the Gulf coast. In that critical situation, Facebook was the only platform that provided up to date information to people. The social media applications helped people to locate their dear ones and to stay informed of the current situations. Hence, the old ways to get informed about the emergency updates have been connected with the social media in this era in every country. For example, to inform everyone that the president is getting continuous updates on the Sandy Hurricane, the White House took over Twitter.

II.Body of the paper

A.Emergency Management

When there are emergencies, it is difficult to locate affected people, gather relevant information and provide to the related parties, deliver resources to the affected ones timely. All such data is not enough to make correct decisions about where and how to focus. Hence, it is always a challenge for the government agencies to decide how many people should be sent to the damaged area to collect data. When Hurricane Katrina occurred, the secretary of homeland security reported that there was a lack of information from the government agencies. This is another challenge caused when it comes to handling emergencies. [3] It is essential to share appropriate information at accurate time and place. When there is lack of updated information about the disasters, it created negative emotions such as stress. The existing channels formed by the government is neither enough nor appropriately used in response to the emergency situations. Hurricane Katrina’s major cause of failure was said to be the lack of up to date information and recovery efforts.

B.Effects of social media in UAE

As mentioned earlier, government agencies have limited resources to collect spatial information and share information during emergency situations. Therefore, focusing specifically on UAE, social media play an important role in emergency management in two ways. For a response to the disaster, the information that is produced and distributed through social media is extremely valued. Secondly, the interaction and behavior of people at social media give understandings for collecting information and planning rescue effort accordingly. Due to lack of resources and capability of government agencies in UAE, the official sources are inappropriate or insufficient for covering the disasters. Moreover, it can be time-consuming to gather all the information related to the disaster situation.[4] On the other hand, the users of social media are more instantaneous in generating and distributing information. Mostly the information is censored by government officials due to which it is hard to obtain information. Therefore, social media platform helps people in achieving relevant information and challenge the censored information sources. Social media platforms are helpful concerning studying the behavior and patterns of the data generated. When abnormal patterns are distinguished in social media, it automatically enables the locations where attention is required. For instance, in UAE, geo-tagged tweets helps in identifying unusual events by contrasting the normal patterns of the twitter users.

Apart from this, three types of social groups are involved in responding to emergencies in UAE. The affected people can instantly get involved in conversations on social media such as they take pictures and provide information quickly to others about what is happening at their place. On the other hand, people actively volunteer for various humanitarian purposes. Though they are not directly linked to the affected ones they have right to computational resources for generating data. [3] Lastly, emergency workers that are capable of performing at a large scale are allocated to the affected area by the officials. Social media helps in collecting and disseminating information, and different social networking tools can be helpful for creating a strong relationship between the volunteers.

 Challenge analysis

Along with a lot of benefits of social media, it does face challenges too in the UAE. It is hard to check whether the quality of data relates to its format. Due to information gathered from different sources, there is a different level of uncertainties.[5] When personal information of the affected is revealed, it can cause disadvantage to them regarding future crimes. Moreover, it is also complicated to decide what type of data will be most suitable to support reasoning and decisions.


In this era, information technology is enhancing rapidly allowing people to get the advantage of such opportunities and to easily share valuable information. The data collected through social media is becoming valuable with time in UAE such as the creation of geospatial data. The collaboration of people and the government agencies, blend of data from different resources and a good understanding of social network make up a good computational system for emergencies. It is assumed that research on social networks concerning emergency management will result in efficient response towards emergency situations. This research will also help in finding appropriate solutions to secure private information of the people during emergency situations and take help of social networking without revealing any private information of the people.


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