Volunteer army pitches in again

Published - November 04, 2017 01:12 am IST - CHENNAI

Among the volunteer armies of Chennai, instrumental in making sure the city bounced back after the 2015 Chennai floods, some sprung back into action again on Thursday after Chennai received 8 hours of continuous rainfall.

Similar to 2015 floods, the #Chennairains2017 was used both on Facebook and Twitter to flag information about traffic and diversions around the city, waterlogging information and co-ordinated with volunteers on the ground to distribute food and water. As is often the case with crowd-sourced information, the social media users spent considerable time squashing crowd-sourced rumours such as the possible breach of lakes around the city.

Hundreds of users shared official data of water level and capacity of lakes to calm the nerves of those who were frantically seeking information about a possible breach. People were encouraged to provide a lift to those stranded on the roads.

The social media was full of videos and pictures of areas where the waterlogging was considerable. Some also make sure to call out the fake messages from the previous years’ flooding circulating on WhatsApp. While pictures of police officials who were out on the roads directing traffic and helping people came in for considerable praise, politicians from the ruling party came in for ridicule and were subjected to funny memes. Social media users with a huge number of followers also pitched in by re-tweeting information. Celebrities including actor Vishal pooled together resources along with his friends reached out to people who needed food, water, medicines, sanitary pads and blankets.

RJ Balaji, whose work during the 2015 floods was highly appreciated, ensured that the Big FM’s offices were kept open for people stuck in the rain. A volunteer said that RJ Balaji and team distributed food at Pallikaranai and Tiruvanmayur.

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