Chennai, the past few days has been about thousands and thousands of people who have silently helped each other. So many from within the state and many others from outside. Sometimes individually, sometimes in groups. Being a volunteer is an experience that you would love to, just like the thousands others; but not wishing to welcome such a disaster ever in life.
Chennai wasn’t prepared for such a disaster. I wonder if any city in India is. The city has been truly battered.
Looking back at the city, one thing that most of us must appreciate is the unity and willingness of the localites. They helped each other risking their own lives. There was no media coming forward, nor was any politician doing something useful. A glimpse of the real heroes and incidents that can touch your heart and make you reailse what life is all about.
1) There has been a force in Chennai more powerful than the rains pounding the city. It was “Social media”. While bridges collapsed, floodgates opened and people were confined to their homes, citizens came together on social media – Twitter and Facebook to send or seek help with accommodation, food and rescue relief.
2) Twitter has been a boon. Though the networks were all down, as were power and fuel (for a short while) it was a huge tool to spread, receive and broadcast information. When network was patchy, it was fastest to load tweets. People verifying if claims were correct, calling numbers and posting “Verified” so that volunteers don’t waste time.
Actors came forward to do the ground work for the common people.
3) The people behind the joint effort at Chennairains.org, a Google spreadsheet listing helpline numbers, aid offers and requests, rescue requests, volunteer details and accommodation details has been, and is still being, widely shared, so that people can fill in details or provide necessary information to volunteers.
4) The volunteers have been working all night – people from other cities and countries pitched in and took turns to stay awake. Some volunteers kept track of certain hashtags including #
#chennairain, #chennaivolunteer, #chennairescue, #chennairainshelp, #volunteersneeded, and #foodneeded.
5) Social media is not so bad after all. We can use this tool for some incredible work.
6) Media works only for paid news.
Media operating out of Mumbai / Delhi were a disappointment. They were debating a disaster as an issue, until people in Chennai shouted out. Finally they did realize what was going on and gave airtime to their sleepless, overworked journalists here who finally got some attention for the work they were doing from Chennai.
7) You don’t need to be rich to help others.
This story of a young boy can inspire everyone of us, to put other human beings above self. It’s Ok Brother, I’m Used To Hunger. Let Him Eat, He Doesn’t Seem To Bear Hunger.
8) Theaters, Mosques and temples opened up for the flood victims. Humanity has no religion.
Hundreds have taken to social media platforms to co-ordinate search, rescue and food distribution efforts and also reach out to people who need help.
Others have opened their houses to provide shelter to people who cannot reach their homes.
9) Mohamed Yunus, a volunteer in Urappakkam, saved a pregnant lady, Chitra. What followed is definitely a story worth telling! Mohan and Chitra named their newborn daughter, Yunus, after the man who saved her.
10) Mobile networks coming forward to help the common people trace their loved ones.
13) The spirit of Chennai people is worth mentioning. They showcased the real spirit of unity.
14) Life lessons you must keep deep in heart.
Should we blame the improper planning of the city or the illegal constructions built over cities major water bodies, should we blame the government for not taking proper precautions or declaring emergency, should we blame the media for not bothering to help the drowning city or should we blame the ministers who transferred the IAS officer who warned that #ChennaiFloods or should we blame the mother nature for being so aggressive.
Now that all this is happened, the only things that brings hope is that the people of Chennai will stay united, no matter what happens. Kudos to all those youngsters and volunteers who have helped the city to bring normalcy.
Hatts Off #Chennai for being bold and united.
ImageSrc: Twitter, Facebook