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#SocialMedia Used to Help Victims of #ChennaiFloods

International Business Times
The city of Chennai in India has just had its wettest day in over 100 years, as the annual northeast monsoon has swept across a large portion of the country. The resulting floods have been widespread and often devastating, killing over 300 people and displacing a further 1.8 million. Things are starting to let up now, but with so many people forced out of their homes and with no power, the effective spread of aid is an ongoing issue.


As was the case with the Nepal earthquake and several other recent natural disasters, social media is now playing something of a pivotal role in the recovery effort. Through Twitter in particular, people have been able to openly advertise offers of food and shelter to those nearby and set up communication lines to co-ordinate rescue operations. A few different hashtags, such as #Chennairains, #Chennairainshelp and #Chennaifloods have acted as banners for those participating in the rescue effort.


A website has also been set up, providing a list of services, complete with names, contact numbers and addresses. It also allows those in need of rescue to post appeals, donate and register to volunteer. The larger benefit of spreading information about aid in this way is that famous individuals will often pick it up and signal boost it, allowing it to reach a far broader audience. In this case, a number of notable Indian celebrities have done exactly that.


Facebook have also been involved, having yet again employed the 'Safety' button so that people can mark themselves safe. The button first appeared during the Nepal quake, it made a few more sporadic appearances after that, and following some criticism of bias after the Paris shootings, it's now being employed far more frequently. Some network providers have also done their bit to help, such as Telecom and SSTL, providing free minutes and data to help people search for rescue or contact loved ones.


It's a very encouraging trend, it protects those wishing to help but unsure of specifics from going to the wrong place or biting off more than they can chew, enables a communication system that isn't entirely dependent on access to electricity and creates a knock-on effect, spurring larger numbers of people into getting involved. Even the typically jovial 'Chennai Memes' Facebook page has transformed, provided rescue information and general updates. The flood waters are beginning to recede now, mercifully, but there's still a lot of work left to do and a lot of people out there still in need of help.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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#SocialMedia Used to Help Victims of #ChennaiFloods Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, December 06, 2015 Rating: 5

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