CHENNAI: In this desperate hour, when information about the pain points of the city and where assistance is needed is a little sketchy for both those helping and those in need of help, crowd-sourced initiatives have proved to be a blessing.
A comprehensive effort to help navigate through myriad needs and emergencies — www.chennairains.org — has been set up to collate all information on flood-related needs.
Area-wise update on flood situation, doctors on call, essentials like clothes and medicines and homes available for those temporarily homeless, have been aggregated from several sources like Twitter and posted on this platform, thereby saving much searching time and effort for the network-pinched city folk.
Anyone can register on the website and post information on what help is available and where, besides contact details.
People can alternatively use this website as a one-stop destination to look for boats or places of shelter, food, etc.
Another effort called ‘Floodmap Chennai’ has also been helpful to commuters in tracking inundated areas. “Help planners and city authorities understand the flooding problem by contributing to this map” reads the site. Users can mark areas which have been inundated, on the map, which will get saved and can be viewed by any other user.
In fact, the site saw such heavy traffic that it crashed temporarily owing to many people checking for routes to avoid.
Besides this, the constant stream of Whatsapp forwards and other social media shares has also helped distribute a substial amount of needs for people stuck in flooded areas. “I am at Gandhi Mandapam, people here have enough food and water. But they’re wearing the same clothes for the past 3 days, please contribute,” said one Facebook post by a city resident Lallu, that immediately saw shares and replies from people. Hundreds of messages like these are doing the rounds, with many finding help through networking channels.