Lending a hand of support in the time of need: How the world of Digital and Team #ARM Worldwide did its bit in the time of J&K Floods of 2014
Very recently, we did a feature where we talked at length about the #IceBucketChallenge and what a wonderful initiative it was, all propelled by the power of digital media with social media in driver’s seat. However, if you come down to the bare numbers for the disease, in no way we are trying to suggest otherwise or condescending the cause, but about 5,600 people are detected of ALS every year. But what if you were told that there is something that affected at least 53x times the number of people, all within a span of couple of week, would your heart not go out?
Look closer, and you will realise that well over 1,10,000 people have been rescued, over 200 dead and more than 1,00,000 people still are looking towards the skies for help, in what has been the worst natural disaster to hit the Northern most state of India.
— Arif Maghribi (@DrKashmirM) September 4, 2014
While politicians have left no opportunity pass by for their wrestling of blame game and dirt spitting, the real heroes in this time of disaster has been the National Army of India which has once again shown that no matter what come, they will be there with their bravehearts on their sleeves.
As a nation of over a billion people, our hearts go out to those who are battling in this testing time in J&K. As much as we would all like to participate in the relief work, it is not possible for each one of us to be present physically and help out, and as a result the second best thing, we could do was to aid the work by donating to the PM Relief fund.
Once again, it was the power of Digital and the contributions of the digital world that actually gave us the right and accurate picture of the fight that the J&K residents have on their hands. Dedicated Twitter handles have been set up in order to provide fast track information, live pictures, scenarios as well as weather updates forecasting the situation.
Around 25 boats flown in to Awantipura air base for South Kashmir rescue ops and are being sent to the affected areas — Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) September 7, 2014
Several people have taken to their Social Media accounts in order to sparkle out the information, yet it has been next to impossible to verify some of the details. Given less than able connectivity from the ground, the disaster has given some classless people an opportunity to drive personal agendas and spread absolutely untrue informations, therefore, we would urge all of you to only follow and read what is absolutely verified and confirmed.
Hope and Pray the flood situation in Kashmir gets controlled sooner than soon.
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) September 7, 2014
Praying for abatement of floods in Kashmir. Courage to the rescuers and patience and faith to an anguished people. — Boman Irani (@bomanirani) September 7, 2014
Thoughts are with all the families affected by the floods in Kashmir and wishing the rescue teams all the best in their efforts. #weR1
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 7, 2014
The page 3 news makers or the residents of bollywood have not been unaffected by the disaster either. Several loved celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Farhan Akhtar took to their personal Twitter channels in order to offer their prayers and express their horror at what is being considered the worst natural disaster of the Independent India.
Senior journalists, such as Barkha Dutt too took to their profiles to express solidarity with the people of the state and break away from their usual monotony.
Facebook groups such as the Kashmir Flood Information Channel has been an open forum for everybody to participate and report for help to the ones who can genuinely make a difference.
The weather in J&K will be clear, the possibility of rain is less but sky will be partly cloudy: BP Yadav (Met. Dept) pic.twitter.com/SBvDMt6VCU
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 15, 2014
Websites such as JKFloodRelief have been set up which in conjunction with the on ground forces have not only been able to bring us live information but also working in order to support them by spreading awareness and encouraging people to donate. Several media houses such as IndiaToday have set up live blogs in order to cover every passing second in this terryfying fight for survival.
The PMO Official Twitter handle has also made an effort to bring the news of the relief work as well as encourage people to help and spread awareness by listing down the emergency contact numbers. The Prime Minister in his appeal said:
My Fellow Citizens, you are all aware that unprecedented floods have caused havoc in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A large number of persons have died or have been temporarily displaced. Property and infrastructure worth crores of rupees have been damaged. Our fellow countrymen in Jammu and Kashmir need our help at this critical hour to tide over the calamity and to rebuild their lives
Twitter accounts such as @JkFloodRelief have been especially setup to bring all the coverage instantly. You can also follow the hashtag, #JKFloods, #JKFloodRelief to get a live view of the situation, indeed one of those few occasions where hashtags have been absolutely priceless.
Big credits to the Telecom players in India who have been instrumental in helping the state in this hour by focussing on making connectivity problem free. Airtel offered free calling facility for 60 minutes per day to all the subscribers from J&K from 12-17 September.
Airtel accelerates network restoration, offers 50-min free talktime in J&K https://t.co/7YEzMCt0Wm
— Madan BODDU (@madanbmohan) September 11, 2014
J-K floods: Mobile phone services restored, calls on BSNL free for a week — QueenBee ♕ (@vaidehisachin) September 13, 2014
BSNL went a step more and made calls and text messages absolutely free for those who are in affected areas while Vodafone, Reliance and Idea played a part too.
— sanjay trehan (@santre) September 10, 2014
Popular messaging app, Whatsapp has come truly handy too, with all the distress calls from Social Media or otherwise being forwarded to a WhatsApp group which includes all senior commanders from the Northern Command in order to facilitate quick action.
Just like any other responsible citizens, we have kept a track of everything that has transpired in J&K. Despite being a team of only 30 people, each one of us has included the affected citizens in our daily prayers, hoping the cruel nature would stop its wrath.
While prayers can definitely move mountains, the situation demanded a lot more, and as a result as a group, we decided to do our bit and are only more than happy to help out by donating our salary for one day to the PMO Relief fund.
Ritesh Singh, the CEO of #ARM Worldwide said:
First of all, thanks to Vivek for initiating a small yet a thoughtful noble gesture! Like most people in the world, I was also following the developments very closely, 2 of my known where struggling day & night. Jaibeer Ahmad, his family was in Kashmir, struggling and he was helpless, scouting for information, sleeplessly trying to connect with all & anyone who can provide information about the town where his parents where. And during these days of pain & agony, so many people where trying to help in their own way, sharing whatever was coming their way with Jaibeer.
On the other hand another friend of mine, Nitin Oberoi with his family, in his cousin’s hotel with 100 more guest on the fourth floor. There are heroic stories and unforgettable experiences.
While we want to see all stories to have an happy ending (these 2 have come out happy), story in J&K will take few years to settle back unless we all come together with government of India leading from the front, ensuring the rightful.
We may be a small group, but we hope our efforts will help save and resurrect at least a few lives, we obviously encourage you to join us and while we have had our share of fun doing the Harlem Shakes and the #IceBucketChallenge, this is a severe situation that demands we stand up and be counted, instead of sitting and scrounging out the money for the next lavish meal with your friends or a movie you have been absolutely posting to watch. So stand up and be counted, and let some of those pockets loose, remember you are very very lucky and privileged to be in the position you are.