Norway terrorists attack. How not to manage crisis information

Norway twin attacks in Oslo last Friday 20th of July seem to have come as a completely and overwhelming surprise to the Government, if we think of the way they have delivered information through the media. Norwegians are mourning the victims of a massacre at an island youth camp and a bombing in the capital Oslo without having been properly explained by their Government, at least in the early hours of the massacre, what was all about.  Nowadays, we still don’t know for certain the exact number of casualties, neither the number of missed citizens. Since Norway is a country happily not used to terrorists attack, that might be the cause why they have been unable to quickly deal with crisis communication management.

At least 7 people died in the city centre when a blast exploded in the Government quarter, on Friday the 20th. The objective was, apparently, the Primer Minister. So we were told at about 15.26 pm. Two hours later, Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenbergat, appeared to explained that Oslo blast was caused by a car bomb. At about 22.30 Prime Minister said that at least 20 people died at the Utoeya camp when a gunman opened fire, and that another four were missing on the island.

Utoeya island

Speculation about who the gunman was were from one side to the other, till we were told, on Saturday 23rd, that a 32-year-old Norwegian man, Ander B Breivivk,  was charged over both attacks, though police said it is possible another person was involved.
So we went to bed on Friday night with 20 people dead, no idea about missed ones and information being delivered at a terribly low speed.  Hours went by- remember we were first informed at 15.26- and information simply did not exist.  

It was only during the night when the Norwegian Government said that at least there were 80 people dead. Police also facilitated a phone number for victims in their web page and a different one to attend the media, so as not to collapse emergency services. Health services only offered a very short information which did not include number of victims.

Social media management.

I spend several hours searching information in social media related to the twin attacks in Oslo. Hastagh #Oslo, #Norway and soon #Utoya #Utoeya, became trending topics in Tweeter. But, the point is, neither Norwegian Government not any official services  said a single word. Why? We really couldn’t tell, since no one gave any sort of explanation. What they did well, in my opinion, was to establish different phone numbers for people looking for their relatives, and for the media, and broadcast them on their official website. It was also good the advice given by the police asking citizens not use mobile or network connections so as not saturate the lines and make them capable to manage the emergency.

What happened then, it is what usually happens when there is no official information. Citizens used Tweeter and YouTube to provide information and upload their own videos and comments. Also the American Government kept their citizens informed trough these channel. As a matter of fact, they are more used to terrorists attack.

Casualties number downgraded

The last straw of bad management information is what we were told yesterday. The number of casualties was on Friday evening 80. Then it rose to 93 and yesterday we were told that they were only 73!  How can that be? Unfortunately, we have been trough terrorists attack before. Remember Madrid  11st March, 2004,  where 192 people died.  Coroner officers identified at least half of these people on the 11st and the Government of Madrid published their names in their official website the same day . 
Until Norway twin attack, we have never ever assisted to anything like that. It sounds to me like someone did not do their job properly, as Spanish newspaper El País says.  

No hay comentarios: