Help pours in from every corner for Chennai
As Chennai reels under worst-ever floods, support has poured in from all corners of the country. From politicians to companies, netizens, celebrities, startup and ecommerce founders, people are doing their bit to help those in distress. In addition to trending hashtags, various online tools, lists, groups and services are being used to offer help. Companies like Airtel, Practo, Zomato and Paytm announced relief efforts.
http://chennairains.org is a website where one could post contact details, the number of people, the type of emergency and other details, which is then forwarded to concerned authorities. There's also a volunteer form where people can enlist to help by picking up stranded people, providing shelter, food, etc.
Google Spreadsheet - https://goo.gl/onqsb6 is being widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook with details about places willing to provide accommodation, with the addresses, contact details and profiles of the people offering help. It is a technology-enabled attempt to crowdsource information about relief. As of now, it lists homes in 225 locations in Chennai, from Parry's to Perungudi, that can take in people.
Taxi aggregator Ola is supporting hundreds of flood-affected Ola drivers with food and lamps. Ola's rival Uber India has joined hands with a food bank in Chennai to deliver food packets, bottled water and other necessities to those who are housed in makeshift shelters. Practo released a list of verified doctors who can be contacted for medical emergencies.
While it was announced that BSNL will offer free service for a week in Chennai, Airtel too stepped in to offer free talk-time up to Rs.30 to Chennai's prepaid customers. Paytm began its 'Stay Safe Chennai' initiative. As per this, one can dial 18001030033 and share the mobile number of person in need and Paytm will recharge it with Rs.30 free talk-time.
There is a crowdsourced effort to map the inundated roads in Chennai. Over 2,400 flooded roads have been added to Chennai's map so far on http://osm-in.github.io/flood-map/chennai.html#11/13.0000/80.2000/-30.
Facebook activated "Safety Check" tool for its users in Chennai early on Thursday to provide them with a way to reassure loved ones that they are safe in the flood-hit city. The feature allows Facebook to ask users whether they're safe if located near a natural disaster. A click or tap on the "I'm Safe" button lets friends and loved ones know straight away.
Google launched their crisis response page titled South India Flooding - http://google.org/crisisresponse/2015-chennai-flooding with resources such as emergency helpline numbers, list of relief centres and crowdsourced maps. The page also has video feed from YouTube.