KOCHI:When the floods ravaged the state, Malayalis around the world were stricken with worry. Here is a group of Malayalis who decided to do something about it.Mostly based in the US, the UK and the Gulf, the lot set up a website ‘keralafloodrescue.com’ to facilitate with the rescue and the subsequent relief work in the state.
It all began when the members of a Whatsapp group decided to do something about the flood situation.
“The government’s keralarescue.in was up and running at the time,” says Vipin Nair, a member of the group. “We noticed that there were a lot of tracking requests for rescue and a gap on the supply side. That’s what we decided to focus on.”
The members started with a Google spreadsheet and collected information from Twitter. “It was fairly basic; just the name, location and type of service they were providing,” says Vipin, a business analyst based in the UK. “Then we began adding extra details. Along with this, we began verifying the numbers. As the list grew, we began checking on the older numbers.”
A turning point for the group was when a member - US-based IT professional Raju Sunny - came up with a Google Map Application Programme Interface that picked up the data from the spreadsheet and presented it in a visual format on a dynamic map. “This turned out to be the website’s most used feature,” says Vipin. The map has registered more than 30 lakh views.
They went on to put up Google Forms where people can submit the services they offered or request help.
During all this, another member Sooraj Murali got hold of the domain keralafloodrescue.com and collated all the services provided by the group.
The group received heartening messages from the affected people. “There was this man from the US who was able to assign a volunteer using our resources to rescue his pregnant wife,” says Vipin.“He even donated 1,000 dollars to the CM’s Distress Relief Fund as a token of gratitude.”