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When Volunteers Hindered Rescue and Relief Work

For some a post on social media was more important than doing actual relief work

Published: 14th December 2015 03:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2015 03:57 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Theedir Nagar, a slum located in Saidapet River was washed away during the floods. A group of volunteers from Adyar had arrived to distribute food, clothes, blankets and basic medicines. Rather than focussing on distribution, a volunteer, probably in her early 20s, was busy clicking pictures of the goods. Two other volunteers from the same team, who were inside a car, were busy transferring images to their laptops and posting them on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a lady constable was struggling to manage the crowd around the car, which had relief materials. After an hour, one of the guys from the car jumped out, smiling that the their pictures on Facebook received more than 100 ‘Likes’ within a short span of time. 

When Volunteers.jpgNot only during the distribution of relief materials, but even during the floods and rescue operations, the local police had a hard time clearing the crowd that assembled to take photos.  On December 2, following heavy rains the previous night, water from the Adyar River entered houses along its banks in Jaffarkhanpet. With just one rescue boat, the Fire and Rescue personnel struggled to save more than 800 families, but the cops were unable to assist them, as they were busy trying to disperse the crowd that gathered to witness the rescue.

Many youngsters parked their vehicles at the end of the bridge and took selfies. Many motorists too wanted a slice of the action and slowed down their vehicles to peek at the flooding Adyar River. This created traffic congestion on the road connecting Ashok Nagar and Guindy.

But on the other hand, they were also several volunteers — thousands who silently did their job, rescued hundreds of people, helped the army, NDRF and the police. And the best part was that they continued to remain invisible.

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