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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Twitter, Facebook double up as helpline

Humaira Ansari, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 14, 2011
First Published: 02:01 IST(14/7/2011) | Last Updated: 02:03 IST(14/7/2011)

As serial blasts ripped through the city yet again, net-savvy Mumbaiites used the virtual medium to offer real help.

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Wall posts on Facebook enlisting hospital and police control room contacts, tweets offering blood donation and homestays for the night, and a Google document with live updates from a cross-section of Mumbaiites offering food, shelter, blood and free rides, went viral within hours after the first blast shook the city.

At last count, 177 Mumbaiites had posted their contacts, home addresses and the nature of help they were willing to offer, on the Google doc.

“If anyone is stuck on the western express highway or around and can’t get transport home — let me know. I live close by,” read Swetha Ramakrishnan’s wall post on Facebook.

Gaurav Jagwani, 26, a Cuffe Parade-based musician tweeted his cell number offering those stuck in and around the area an overnight stay. Five people around the World Trade Centre responded to his tweet. “I reached there with homemade roti and sabzi,” said Jagwan. After the quick bite, he dropped them to Churchgate station.

With jammed cellular networks, the online space was abuzz with people even offering to email and SMS relatives and family about the safety of those stranded. Agencies such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport also kept netizens updated. “Security has been intensified at CSIA, please remain calm&co-operate wth procedures. Operations are normal at airport,” the tweet read.

“Kasab is having a blast on his b’day... 3 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai :( :(,” tweeted Shivani Karkhanis.

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