Chennai is fighting the worst rain in a hundred years and the floods are causing unimaginable devastation and tragedy. Many are watching the tragedy and the fightback live on television and internet and wondering how they can help.
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The Centre has sent the army and naval forces for rescue work. All modes of travel to the city have been shut down. Event as the Met Department has warned of more rains for next four days, reservoirs are overflowing and the deluge is likely to increase.
This tragedy has brought out most unlikely scenes, thus proving once again that humanity is the only force that binds people on this planet. While Karnataka and Tamilnadu have always had tussles related to water every year where there was less rain, Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah has announced Rs 5 crores in aid, along with medicines and relief materials.
Alongside this, Facebook and Twitter are buzzing with hundreds of such ‘need help’ and ‘want to help’ kind of posts. We are curating some of the resources that will help people in Bengaluru to aid the people of Chennai.
Sites to track
Chennai Rain Relief 2015: facebook.com/ChennaiRainRelief2015. Quick updates about the situation in Chennai, immediate needs and requirements of the flood victims. Managed by a coalition of NGOs including AID India, Bhumi, Bhoomika Trust, Chennai Volunteers, Udhavam Ullangal and Banyan.
ChennaiRains.org: This website has info on shelters, help requirements, help offers, useful contacts etc.
chennai.adda.io: A website to track live status of #ChennaiRains by neighbourhoods, hosted by Bengaluru-based firm Apartment Adda.
webcrs.com/reachout2help: A website for help offers and requests for support. Also updated by dozens of volunteers in Bengaluru scanning Facebook and Twitter to match requests with offers.
rainhelp.pyrumas.com: A website that tracks donors and recipient NGOs. It is run by the 24×7 Bengaluru control room, run by the KUWSDB office, in collaboration with the senior civil servants and volunteers from the citizens
udhavi.org: This website is documenting requests for help from Cuddalore, yet another area in Tamil Nadu which was battered by the rains.
Donations in kind
Selva Ganapathy from AID India has asked people to avoid travel to Chennai from Bengaluru carrying items, as most roads leading to Chennai are blocked. He says no food packets are needed. From next week, the team will accept relief items from people based on the requirement. He advises people to wait and look out for help requests from coordinating teams on the ground and then donate. More than short term, long term relief is needed for the victims, for which donors should wait for a few days and understand the need. Whether you want to donate in cash or kind, it is better to do your research, validate the organisation and then donate.
Here is what can be donated:
- Plastic mats, Bedsheets
- Emergency lamp, Solar charger for mobiles, Torches with batteries
- Usable Clothes, Napkins, Diapers
- Mosquito nets, Mosquito repellent cream, Basic medical kit
- Rice, Dal, Oil
- Chapattis/jowar rotis
- Chutney powders or pickle sachets
- Tetra pack of milks
- Buns, biscuits, bread
- Raincoats and umbrellas
- Packing containers for food
- Sanitary napkins and diapers
- Fully charged power banks
- Candles, lighters, carefully packed matchboxes
- General medicines
- Clothes for all ages
Here are the things to keep in mind when you send something to Chennai:
- Do not send cooked food that may not last long.
- Do not send match boxes. Lighters are easier and safe to transport.
- Do not call the relief workers and other Chennai numbers unnecessarily, as every bit of charge and bandwidth that can be saved will be valuable.
- Do not share torn or soiled clothes, or the clothes that are not sanitised.
Teams working on-ground to carry relief materials
There are multiple people working on providing such materials to Chennai. We have verified them and are posting it here for the benefit of those who want to contribute. (Note: the addresses/contact numbers will be removed from this article post the crisis time)
AID India volunteers are collecting items for long term rehabilitation. See list above.
- Guru: JP Nagar 2nd phase. Ph: 9845294184
- Karthik/Chetna: Michael Palya, Indiranagar. Ph: 8105233881/5. /9945503508
- Deepa: JP Nagar 9th Phase – near nandi gardens. Ph: 9900194183.
- G.Srinivasan/Sujatha: ITPL Road, Brookfields. Ph: 9945503508
- Senthil: National Games Village, Koramangala Ph:9900262828
- Peevee: Thalam 2nd floor, 80 Krishna reddy Colony, Domlur Layout.
- Pushpa Achanta: Benson Town, Bangalore – 560046. Ph:9886685896, Twitter: @apushpa
- Chithra: Mantri Tranquil, Gubbalala gate. Ph.9845403040/ 9449827443
- Yamini: 39th cross, Jayanagar 4th block. Ph:9620477555.
- Srinivas: 4th T block, Jayanagar. Ph:9980015816/9448515816.
- Sudarshan: Kasturinagar main road, east of NGEF, Kasturinagar, Ph: 8884442220.
- Balaji Kutty/ Vanila: Narayana gowda layout, BTM 1st Stage, Ph: 9448587772 / 9620222628
- Umesh. VRL transport Jayanagar 9th block. Ph:9844057149
- Aradhana: Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar 7th phase. Ph:9845537269
- Madhu: Avaya, AMR Tech Park II, Hongasandra, Bommanahalli. Ph: 98450 89731
- Preeti: Devarabisanahalli, 9731288222
- GV Suresh: Whitefield, Seegehalli, 9880799220
- Balaji Srinivasan: 22/002, Mantri Residency, Bannerghatta Rd, 080 41201847, 80887 54499
- GreenBubbles Startup Services: #L165, 1st Floor, Sri Gayathri Complex, HSR Layout Sector 6, Outer Ring Road Service Lane, 98866 53346
- Suresh: Jayanagar 5th block, 9620201713
- Viswesh: #102, Sudarshan Layout, Ist main, Gattigere, BEML 3rs stage, RR Nagar
A team of Facebook friends who have collected donated items have already left from Bengaluru for Chennai earlier today. The next trip will depart from Bengaluru on the morning of December 5th. Durable food and other material can be donated. Here is where you can drop the items you want to donate:
- BTM/Madiwala: Shivu- 8050774325
- Indiranagar: Ram – 8147558586
- Banashankari 2nd stage: Swathi – 9686201131
- Bannerghatta road: Pavitra Avinash 9591008828
- Whitefield: Sudha Chandani Khatri – 9980963979
- HSR Layout: Saranya – 9538225771
- Sarjapur Road: Parul – 9845799228
- Frazer Town /Banaswadi/ Hennur/Kamanahalli: Aishwarya – 7829382868
- Shanti Nagar: Benjamin – 9886359662
- Marathahalli: Astha – 9940350912
RJ Pradeepa’s team: Yet another team of volunteers is collecting flood relief materials from Bengalureans. The team is spearheaded by RJ Pradeepa from FM Radio City. The trucks with relief material will leave Bengaluru on December 5th from the Radio City office on Bannerghatta Road. RJ Balaji from Big FM Chennai will coordinate with the volunteers to hand over items to the victims in Chennai. The contact numbers of volunteers who collect relief materials in Bengaluru are as follows:
- Malleshwaram: Sushma Rajendra – 9986877326
- Rajajinagar/ Malleshwaram: Vidhya Chakravarthy – 9686561620
- Rajaji Nagar 2nd Block: 9900982266 / 90030233416
- Kundalahalli/Whitefield: Devatha – 9731651851
- Wipro Sarjapur Road: Raja Vel – 9916919394
- Kalyan Nagar/Kammanahalli – Punnakhai – 9980209537, Shahana – 9663407014
- Bellandur: Gayathri – 9886955355
- Shantinagar: Sushanth – 9972232633
- Indira Nagar: Arun Kumar – 9944722312
- JP Nagar 6th phase: Rana Ashish – 8123249932
- JP Nagar: Bharathi – 7022739625
- Koramangala: Ravinder – 9971884955
- BTM Layout: Bhavya – 9886676362 / 9743946740
- Ramamurthy Nagar:- 8861208809 / 7353578287
- Jayanagar/JP Nagar: 9945935853 / 9686480215 / 9483430215
- Konankunte: 8147781774
- Basavangudi/Vidyapeeta: 9945146344
- Banashankari: 8892020202
- Bangalore University/Kengeri: 9035449134
- Devaiah Park: 9035802263
- MSR Nagar/Mathikere: 9620499505 / 9901249986
- Vijay Nagar/Nagarbhavi: 9845641333
- RR Nagar: 9980842000
- Uttarahalli: 9686869676
- Yelahanka: 8095376806
- Kumaraswamy Layout/ISRO Layout: 9686869676
GOONJ: The well known non-profit Goonj is working on rescue and restoration operations in flood-hit Chennai. The organisation is accepting dry ration, bedsheets, tarpaulins and ropes, torch and batteries, cooking utensils, solar lights, mosquito nets, pressure cooker, buckets and mugs, mobile phones with chargers, battery packs, school materials, slippers, toothbrush, soaps and paste, candles and matchboxes, sanitary pads and crutches. Click here for details of collection centre.
Power Bank Collection: Another team is collecting power banks exclusively, to help the rescue workers and disaster management teams stuck in Chennai without communication, as they have not had power for three days now. Fully charged power banks are to be delivered to: Brave New World, 3293/A, 3rd Floor, Citadel Plaza, 12th Main Road, Indiranagar, HAL II stage, Contact no: Vismaya – 9916267851; Srishti – 9986287526
Those interested in contributing money can donate online.
1. Bhoomika Trust: Mention “Disaster Relief” in your mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact: Latha, 044 24981967. Cheques can be made towards ‘Bhoomika Trust,’ Bank Account: Account no – 006010100609760, Axis Bank, Radhakrishnan Salai, Chennai, IFSC Code – UTIB0000006, MICR Code – 600211002. Foreign contributions can be made towards ‘Bhoomika Trust FCRA A/c’, Account no – 006010100611060, Axis Bank, Radhakrishnan Salai, Chennai, IFSC Code – UTIB0000006, MICR Code – 600211002. Online contributions in INR can be made through Bhoomika’s True Gifts Portal (www.truegiftsindia.org). 80G excemption available.
2. AID India: Issue a cheque favouring AID India and post to 45, Pycrofts Road, First Street, Royapettah, Chennai – 600014. Bank Account: Account no – 306010100080032, Punjab National Bank, IFSC Code – PUNB0618000, MICR – 600024049. For more information, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. India Cares Foundation – icfn.in/chennairelief
4. Goonj India
What you can do on Twitter
- Fill in and regularly update http://chennairains.org with the correct information about available food and shelter.
- If you come across tweets over two hours old with phone numbers, call up the numbers and verify the situation. Retweet saying ‘verified‘.
- Do not retweet tweets from over three hours ago, because they are most definitely outdated. Don’t retweet tweets with over a 100 retweets already.
- Help clean up Twitter. If you see old tweets asking/offering help, check the user’s timeline. If there is an update in the situation, ask them to delete the old one.
- Don’r retweet any phone numbers unless someone has verified them. Most numbers are fake and cause frustration. Even you can verify them.
- Use the correct hashtags. Please don’t use them for sending prayers and love. Lots of tweets out there about which ones to use.
- Reach out to the right people when you want desperate help.
- Lastly, there will always be someone making this a religious or political issues. Ignore them; now is not the time for them.
Tech help from your desk
DataMeet, a community of data enthusiasts are helping with useful data collection. Srinivas Kodali says:
“Documenting data on Chennai floods for measuring impact and for future planning. I am storing some of this data and will collectively share all of them in a while. I need help structuring this data further. If you know any other datasets, let us know. Preferably they should be open licensed and public.”
The team is trying to record ISRO meteorological data from http://www.mosdac.gov.in/ and also cancelled trains from http://enquiry.indianrail.gov.in/ntes/. You can contribute more here in the hackpad.
Emergency Database: The team is also compiling a Chennai Flood Emergency database for those who are stranded and those who want to join the rescue work. The Chennai Flood Emergency database can be accessed here.
Flood map: Yet another crowdsourced effort is to map inundated roads in Chennai. Arun from the Openstreetmap team has made a crowdsourced flood map to help planners and authorities to understand the flooding problem.
Open Street Map – crowdsourced project
Lots of streets and waterways are still missing around Chennai and needs to be traced. The outskirts of the city has no maps, and rescuers cannot understand how to reach deeper areas. Also without a map they cannot spread out systematically ro cover all victims. You can help by creating new maps of the flood affected aras. Please join a crowdsourced mapping project at Open Street Map. All you need is a browser and internet connection. Many volunteers are already at it, anybody with basic tech knowledge, even high school students can join in.
Control Room support from Bengaluru
The head of Karnataka Urban Water Supply Development Board (KUWSDB), P Manivannan, has declared that the control room of KUWSDB will act as a virtual communication bridge for the flood-affected in Chennai.
“We are a team of 15, working 24×7. We pass information from the needy to the rescue teams. We also continuously check which of the helplines numbers being published are actually working.
We have the advantage of able to communicate with senior civil servants and other officials involved in the relief operation, in their personal capacity, apart from the NGOs and volunteers.
Please use our services, to reach the rescue teams and to communicate flood related information to anybody. Our WhatsApp number is 9880655555, Telegram Messenger number is 7259760333, and landline number is 080 40001000 (12 lines).”
On December 7th, Manivannan on a Facebook post shared: “Now, we are full-fledgedly OPEN to handle ALL DONATIONS in material form. Because, we are able to address the most important point in relief operations: – does the relief reach the right persons?
Towards this, we have developed a web-enabled software that will list the donors and the recipient NGOs in the public domain. The link is: rainhelp.pyrumas.com
We receive information about donation of relief materials (we do not accept any monetary donations) thru different sources, like email or SMS or WhatsApp or telegram messenger or /voice calls. We VERIFY every information, and then populate it in a common master database, that is shared with the above six NGOs. Then the NGOs pick what they want from the database, and they talk to the donors and tie up the logistics. From then, it’s the responsibility of the NGOs to distribute it to the needy.
The NGOs with whom we are working are:
1. Agni foundation
2. Aid India
3. Arapoor Iyakkam
4. Art of Living Foundation
5. Rotary International
If any other NGOs are interested, they can email: email@example.com.”