This Is How Andhra Pradesh CM Is Using Technology & Social Media To Rebuild Cyclone Hudhud Hit Areas

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu is using social media and technology to steer the relief work in Vizag which was recently hit by the devastating cyclone Hudhud

Vishakhapatnam or Vizag, the largest city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh often called as “The Jewel of the East Coast” is right now trying to limp back from the massive devastation caused by cyclone Hudhud - named after a bird in Quran - when it hit the port city at 180-200 Kmph on Sunday.

According to Andhra Pradesh’s Revenue (Disaster Management) Department, a total of 2,48,004 people were affected by Hudhud, which also damaged 70 houses and left 34 animals dead. According to CM N Chandrababu Naidu, the exact financial loss caused by Cyclone Hudhud is yet to be calculated even as initial estimates indicate that it can go up to Rs 70,000 crore.

Initial estimates say that Vizag Steel Plant, the biggest public-sector enterprise, suffered damages of Rs.340 crore. The airport whose roof was blown away while its communication network collapsed has suffered a loss of Rs.500 crore and 40,000 electricity poles have been damaged.

The city is now limping back to normalcy with restoration of essential supplies and public transportation services, three days after it was devastated by the cyclone. Meanwhile the tech and social media savvy CM is already at the cyclone hit city and personally looking at the relief work. “The extent of the damage…you cannot visualize, imagine, assess it,” said the CM to NDTV from the bus that he has turned into his office since his arrival in Vizag.

Along with all other means, social media is also playing a decisive role in getting the city back. Thanks to the push from the CM social networks like Facebook and Twitter are being used effectively.

Crowdsourcing cyclone photos with Android app

The usage of social networks started right after the city was struck by the cyclone. People started sharing pictures of affected areas on social media, looking at this the Government came forward and supported the move.

#HudhudAP pictures submitted by the people on social media were collected for AP government’s crowdsourcing project to be sent to the National Remote Sensing Centre for geo-tagging locations and putting them on the satellite map to directly identify them.

Besides it is said that the government, with the help of NRSC, has also launched an Android app for a crowdsourcing project where people can upload photos from their smartphones. The Android app has more than 3K downloads. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu also directed NRSC to use GIS, GPS and remote sensing technologies to spot the damage and put them on the satellite through geo-tagging.

Launch of AP Disaster Management accounts on social networks

Sensing the devastation and with all communication lines down, to speed up the work the state government launched AP Disaster Management account on Facebook . The Facebook page that was launched October 12 has more than 9K fans. The first priority for the government was to get an assessment of the devastation and the crowdsourcing idea came of immense help.

The CM’s Facebook page joined in spreading the word about the crowd sourcing project and later on the disaster management Facebook page picked it up. With the cyclone effect subsidizing, the Facebook page’s job was to keep updating fans on: 1. Sharing status of relief work, 2. Sharing the important contact details, 3. Sharing information about fund transfers, and  4. Sharing the work that the CM is also doing from his end.

Launch of relief monitoring system

Meanwhile a cyclone damage assessment portal has been launched; it will facilitate collection, collation and analysis of damages to assets and will be used by all departments. With the help of citizens the portal connects to National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) website on #HudhudAP.

Use of Whatsapp has been started by the government to get pictures for the web portal by sharing at specific numbers.

The CM joining hands and continuous updates on social media

The CM who has led digital from the front has been extensively using Twitter and Facebook to spread the word not only among the affected people but also to the rest of the world. The below updates from the CM’s social media accounts give a preview of how relief work is being carried out in the state. Some of the Facebook updates:

Conducting video conference on Cyclone threat to AP - 9th October, 2014

AP CM on Facebook

Monitoring the cyclone situation - 12th October, 2014

AP CM On Facebook Cyclone Hudhud

Visiting affected areas in Vizag - 13th October,2014

AP CM in Vizag

Being part of the relief work - 15th October, 2014

AP CM in Vizaf releif work

Some of the Twitter updates: 

It will take time and tremendous amount of effort for Vizak to be called again as “The Jewel of the East Coast” but the people of the state and the CM are setting new benchmarks in carrying out relief work with the help of technology and social media. Other states can inherit the good work.