‘First floor flooded, mobile running out of charge’: Panic appeals from Kerala swamp social media
Several groups have come together to help flood-hit Kerala, where more than 80 people have been killed and thousands temporarily displaced, by urging others to support their efforts in addition to the relief and rescue operations of the state government.
The flood situation in the state worsened on Thursday amid nonstop rain prompting Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to appeal to the Centre for more help. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the defence ministry to step up rescue and relief operations across the flood-hit state after Vijayan called him in the morning.
Union home minister Rajnath, who also spoke to Vijayan, said the Centre was dispatching additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Kerala in response to his appeal.
People are using social media platforms to seek help and pass on information about their location. Videos of people pleading for help with folded hands have been posted and shared by hundreds of people on WhatsApp groups since Wednesday night.
Panic-struck relatives are also sharing the location of their near and dear ones trapped in various places using Google maps. Various regional channels have also published their numbers through news bulletins for stranded people to contact them and share details of their location, to be passed on to authorities.
“We are in the second floor of the house... the first floor is almost flooded... the mobile phone is running out of charge... please rescue us... please,” a man from Ranni said in a video which has gone viral on social media.
“There are tiny tots and senior citizens with us... water is now scaling up to the second floor,” he said.
A non-resident Indian woman was heard pleading on a TV channel for help to rescue her relatives stranded in a house in Pathanamthitta district, which has been witnessing heavy rainfall since Wednesday evening.
“We are awaiting rescue teams ... TV channels are showing that army and navy personnel will come to rescue us ... We are trying to contact the emergency numbers ... But nobody is picking up,” an anxious man was heard telling a television channel over the phone.
Local people are also helping the police, fire service and other defence personnel in most of the places.
The state government has set up a website to coordinate the relief operations following the unprecedented flood situation in the state. People can request for help, get in touch with those affected, contribute and register as a volunteer. https://keralarescue.in/
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has posted the emergency helpline numbers for various districts apart from the helpline numbers of the State Emergency Operations Centre at 0471-23664424 and toll-free numbers 1077 and 1070.
Appeals on social media
Several non-government organisations also posted appeals on social media as they started their campaign to collect relief material to be transported to the flood-affected people.
Many non-government and other organizations have set up collection centres for bed sheets, mats, drinking water, sanitary napkins, diaper, antiseptic lotion, medicines, clothes, biscuits and ORS among other things except used goods and cash.
Groups in Tamil Nadu have also come together to set up relief funds, collect provisions and basic medicines to be transported to Kerala.