Japanese Earthquake Victims Seek Refuge With Flashlight Apps


The earthquake off the coast of Japan has rocked the country’s foundation and the resulting blackouts, fires and tsunami have devastated citizens. While the lives taken by the natural disaster are the most precious of losses, many others face horrific living conditions evidenced by a total collapse of infrastructure. For the families devastated by this event, it isn’t yet about repairing their broken lives but living amongst devastation.

Take a look at some of the disaster’s raw footage, for example the towering Tsunami in the distance as it crashes onto the countryside, with the camera cutting out just before relentlessly pounding moving vehicles trying to escape the calamity:

Or fires caused by the earthquake seen below:

At the ground level, brave service people are undergoing rescue missions and numerous countries have offered their support through man power, finances, and other resources. But still, with a disaster of this magnitude, hundreds of thousands of people are trying to help themselves in one way or another. While it’s a very small matter relatively speaking, the power of Android has played at least some role in assisting citizens trying to deal with their problems.

Nikolay Ananiev, developer of Tiny Flashlight + LED which has been downloaded 2.5+ million times, contacted us to share a startling statistic. In a matter of hours, 50,000+ Android users in Japan downloaded his app following the disaster. I assume that as the earthquake shook infrastructure, the power went out, and people were left in the pitch black trying to escape. They went to Android Market, downloaded a flashlight app, and used it to find an escape route. I’m sure not all were in danger – it’s likely that others in more safe areas simply lost power but were searching for Android Market’s assistance to navigate the dark.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrible crisis along with their family and friends. While we all love downloads like Angry Birds and Evernote, it’s great to see how technology can be used to make the world a better place. Sure… it’s just a simple flashlight app, but to the 50,000+ who downloaded in that time period I’m sure they’d say it was much more than just a simple flashlight app.

What other Android applications could have helped in a time like this? Are there applications you would suggest downloading in advance just in case a natural disaster occurs?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. That’s amazing!!

  2. god bless japan and it’s people

  3. God bless us all during our inevitable trials. Please deem some of us worthy of the next age of man.

  4. Amen

  5. Better to have an actual flashlight and save your phone battery and the 3g network for actually making phone calls.

    The entire country is basically on top of a fault line in the middle of the ocean. Same with Haiti.

  6. anyone seen the footage of the tsunami from the helicopter? it just keeps on going and going and going and going

  7. The Red Cross has established three methods for submitting donations; visiting, calling 1-888-4-HELP-BAY, or texting, “Red Cross” to 90999. The Latter will make an automatic donation of $10 through your wireless carrier.
    Definitely the flashlight app – when things go south, I’m more likely to be carrying my phone than a flashlight.
    Other apps for emergencies:
    ICE –
    Triage Mobile Health –

  8. Why do people expect to be blessed by living in a sin drenched society that excepts homosexuals and pornography? this includes our nation of america as well. Repent

  9. Remember Pearl Harbor? … Just Saying

  10. Or even the Baatan Death March.

  11. tech can be fun but sometimes it can make a real difference in people’s lives. That’s why it is so important to have an open and free platform that doesn’t depend on one company.

  12. WOW I would imagine that the iphone uses who downloaded the same app would live longer than the Android users.

  13. Um why? The iphone users phone would die out in about an hour.

  14. @elijah that is just ignorant. Why don’t you just google “long walk of the navajo”. America has done it first. In fact before you go off all self righteous do us a little favor and just post your drivel somewhere else

  15. @elijah and while we are comparing google up trail of tears.

  16. Who cares if its Android or iPhone and what battery life. I agree with the comment to more than likely have my phone ib my pocket rather than a flashlight.

    I have the app, its been useful outdoors in a pinch like when you drop yourkeys and such, so yeah,technology being applied in a crisis such as this is outstanding. Shows that there are more than games and email and youtube out there.

  17. @ treefq America didn’t do it first. You might want to Google crusades or Spanish inquisition

  18. ah geeez…not this $517 again

  19. Elijah, what does it have to do with anything? What happened in Japan is a terrible tragedy totally unrelated to ww2. I hope nobody said “remember Hiroshima” or “remember Dresden” after 9/11.

  20. On a positive note, it seems Fred Phelps’ online handle is Elijah. So we’ve got that mystery solved.

  21. If the cell phone has a flash, I highly recommend the Tesla LED app, it’s amazing. It also has a strobe setting automatically on SOS.

    I also recommend Color Flashlight for phones without flash on them because it can be a normal flashlight, shine emergency colors and even read off text to rescue workers brightly (You can type “Help” on the screen and it’ll scroll across white and bold on black), plus more.

    I go urban spelunking so this is stuff I use as backup, which has proven pretty helpful, especially in tunnels and I like to go through my apps before I use them to see how good they are because you never know when emergencies happen.

  22. qwr, treefq: you shouldn’t even respond because that’s just going to drag on and on and get even uglier. This is not the time and place for history. This is a time to care about what’s going in Japan right now.

  23. @Todd #3

    who the fuck are you to say what one is to do in such a situation? easy to say what should be done in an emergency when your sitting tight and safe at home. fucking egomaniacs and their desire to judge..

  24. It was godzilla’s fault!

  25. People are suffering and it is people who can and will help them. If the universe has a consciousness, it is as uninvolved with this tragedy as I am with the bacteria that live on a rock at the bottom of the ocean. All we can do is try to survive together on this trembling damp pebble.

  26. Please think twice before blindly donating money to the RedCross. A simple Google search will show you the RedCross has yet to utilize all the millions of dollars donated for Katrina and Haiti victims years later. Find a better way to help our Japanese friends by going to your local churches and helping to collect and send actual supplies. Sending money does nothing but line RedCross’ pockets and rarely helps the actual people it’s supposed to. While the Red Cross DOES help people, they have problems with utilizing the money that people donate. Their are much better ways of helping than blindly donating money.

  27. 1-Click flashlight is currently NO.1 flashlight app for iPad apps in Japan. Within 24h of it’s new release the app has jumped to the No.1. It also works on the iPhone and turns the iPhone 4 LED to a powerful flashlight. Check it out if you have an iPhone. it’s really helpful!

  28. That’s almost not funny…..

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