Jammu and Kashmir is battling one of the worst floods in decades due to days of torrential monsoon rains. The state’s worst floods in 60 years have caused a huge damage to the state. According to Home Ministry of India, several thousand villages across the state have been hit and 350 villages are submerged. So far 47,200 people have been rescued, which includes 24,000 from Srinagar city.
NDTV states that about 150 people are reported dead so far in the state which was battered by heavy rains for five days. Landslides followed, blocking roads to hundreds of villages across the state.
Declared as the “National Disaster” by our PM Narendra Modi, it is also witnessing a massive rescue and evacuation operation by the Indian Army. Nearly 22,000 people have been evacuated so far in rescue operations including the Army, Air Force, Navy and National Disaster Relief Forces.
While rescue efforts are going on offline, the online world which has been witnessing and sharing important information across networks has come forward to help.
Twitter India and Indian Army
Twitter, the best place to curate and consume news, is being used as we have witnessed earlier during such calamities. Twitter India has come forward to make life easy for the Indian Army. Twitter India is curating SOS only feed for the Indian Army to check leads regarding the #KashmirFloods.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) September 10, 2014
This is going to help the Indian Army which is not only conducting a mammoth rescue mission on the ground but also on Twitter. @adgpi Twitter account has been continuously posting updates about the rescue operations being carried out by the army. Rescued people’s names are being collected and shared on the Indian Army’s Facebook page.
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 9, 2014
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 9, 2014
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 7, 2014
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 6, 2014
Another huge effort that is being carried out is by a group of digital volunteers in the name of #JKFloodRelief. The digital volunteers are collaborating with local efforts to assist their relief work. The independent initiative involves aggregating public information on the web and social media by the online volunteers in collaboration with reliable on-ground local efforts of voluntary organizations. The primary goal of the initiative has been – “to support update on priority needs for relief, donation collection centers, and donation transportation logistics for public awareness on what to help via donations, where and how, and therefore, avoid mismatching of what is needed vs. what is offered.”
The team with core members @hemant_pt, @ivak99, @parrysingh, @Raheelk,@silverlightgal, @surendranb and @tw_bhav, is also being supported by IndiGo Airlines for shipping all over India, as well as several voluntary organizations, Goonj, Sajid Iqbal Foundation, Uday foundation, Twitter India, Kno.e.sis Center, Google India, Cipla, DeVil On Wheels, Biocon, and Emami.
The website has all the relevant information such as what are the required relief materials, where to donate, rescue information, among other information. The blog is capturing the journey in phases like the latest update from 9th Sept has been – “Emami’s 560kgs shipment of sanitary napkins was sent through along Uday’s huge donation for meds and kid’s woolens etc. Relief material lying in the Airport was cleared out and sent for distribution.” The Twitter stream of @JKFloodRelief is a continuous stream of round-the-clock updates:
#JKFloodRelief If any1 in kashmir has a working MOBILE other than Aircel tell them2go2Settings>Network>Manual Search then Select Aircel
— #JKFloodRelief (@jkfloodrelief) September 10, 2014
— The Earthwoman (@tw_bhav) September 10, 2014
— Silverlight Gal (@silverlightgal) September 10, 2014
Google, Facebook, Goonj and Aircel
Google has also launched its crowd sourced effort, Person Finder. One can look for someone or feed in information about someone in English, Hindi and Urdu languages. Besides one can search for people via SMS – Text “search ” to 9773300000.
A similar initiative – an “SOS list” started a few days ago by the Self Help Group For Kashmir Flood Victims on the website justpaste.it has also been started. The site that is being continuously updated is posting detailed names, locations and contacts for relatives and friends who were missing and stranded individuals, reports Washintonpost. The Facebook page of the same group of volunteers is also updating all relevant content in the form of visuals and videos.
Additionally, a group of young men also set up a call center to field desperate requests from people seeking information or rescue, and have so far received more than 45,000 calls in a matter of 5 days.
Facebook, the largest social network in the country, has also been a discussion and information point for the Kashmir floods but the network is yet to come up and offer active help like Twitter India. However, it has asked users to support the efforts of NGO Goonj which is collecting essential supplies for the people affected by the devastation.
Goonj, along with the help of volunteers and #JKFloodRelief is doing its bit and the Facebook page gives the relevant details.
Indian mobile operator Aircel has come forward with free calls to all its postpaid and prepaid J&K customers for the next two days, the 10th and 11th of September 2014. Aircel is also working together with the local administration and the Army to restore 2G network in the city and to ensure no outages recur on their 3G network, which is presently up and running in Srinagar.
Attention all Aircel users in J&k! Aircel offers free calls to all its J&K customers for the next 2 days – Sep 10 and Sep 11 #KashmirFloods
— Aircel (@Aircel) September 10, 2014
Aircel has also set up mobile charging units and calling booths to offer the stranded flood victims the facility to make free calls to their homes/families and friends. The booths are equipped with handsets, sufficient talk-time and mobile charging units to enable free calls. The company is also stocking up relief material like medicines, water, non-perishable food items at their offices.
And then there are the numerous hands that are supporting in their own ways in the times of natural calamity and more are joining to support the efforts. If you want to support then do make sure to contribute to the Relief Fund of the PM, else you can check the NDTV article on the same.
Image credit: HT