J-K floods: Social media to the rescue

  • Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 10, 2014 00:26 IST

Mir Shoaib Shafi in the UAE left a message for his mother who was stranded in flood-hit Kashmir, on Facebook’s Kashmir Flood Information Channel. “Mumma call me I am waiting,” his post said.

With broken phone and power lines, social media updates from Kashmiris outside the state have become the most reliable tools to let rescuers know where people are stranded.

Facebook and Twitter have served as sounding boards for panic-stricken people desperate for information in Kashmir’s worst flood in six decades.

“Someone please help. My Uncle Sunil Pahalwan is stuck in Jhawarnagar,” posted Sagar Chowdhury.

Within minutes, a reply directed Chowdhury to an information sheet on people rescued so far on Dropbox, another social media app.

Updates are flying thick and fast. “Aircel phones are working now,” another post says.

The government too decided to officially use the Google “Person Finder” application on Monday. The army is using one of its Facebook accounts to keep people informed.

By Monday evening, it flashed its first rescued people list on the page <Indianarmy.adgpi>.

Twitter India has launched #JKFloodRelief, another platform for aggregating public information.

One of the micro-blogging site’s own top Kashmiri-origin executives is using Twitter to find his family.

Twitter’s India head of news, politics and government affairs, Raheel Khursheed, posted: “Family stuck on the 3rd floor at #20, Govt Flats Jawahar Nagar. No rescue since the last 3 days.”

A Facebook post by @KhAnMaHi captures the online rescue mission: “Good job guys... keep it up… at least u people stood up for a cause.”

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