Kerala floods have ravaged thousands of homes and killed over 300 people so far. As lakhs still remain trapped, stranded, missing, and displaced in relief camps, the government has formed the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) for donations in rescue and relief operations. Tech companies are also lining up to do their bit for all those affected by Kerala floods. Companies like Google, Paytm, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Big Basket, Zomato, Ola, Truecaller, and many more have come forward to help in rescue operations and food distribution. Telcos have also tried to offer help in the form of data, talk time, and toll-free numbers to help the affected. Here's a look at the things these tech companies are doing to help the Kerala flood victims.
Google Person Finder, Plus Codes, and Maps pins
Google has activated its Person Finder tool to help find missing people in Kerala. This tool allows users to fill in details of a missing person, or if they have found a missing person to help in the hour of crisis. The tool is available via the Google website and can be used if you are looking for someone impacted by Kerala floods or looking to share information about someone.
Furthermore, Google is highlighting a feature called Plus Code to help users by Kerala flood victims to send 10 to 11 digit codes to potential rescuers. This code is actually their exact location right down to a few metres, to help rescuers find the stranded person's location accurately. Users need to zoom in to their location to the maximum - just touch and hold on the location to drop a pin on the map. At the bottom will be an address - any user can find this code to locate you, and share it with others as well.
To share the Google Maps location plus code offline during the Kerala floods, you can send it via SMS or make a call to any number. To share it online, enter the plus code and city name in the search box of the Google Maps or Search app. To recall, Google Maps Plus Codes had first been brought to India in March this year.
Google has also pinned a list of centres on Maps that are providing rescue operations, shelters, food, water, medicines, essentials, volunteers, ambulances, and even jeep rescue during Kerala floods.
Facebook activates Safety Check and Crisis Response page
Facebook has gone live with its Safety Check feature to let users check themselves as safe on the social media platform. It has also created a Crisis Response page that collates content from reliable sources related to Kerala floods. The social media company also noted in a statement on Monday that 487 people donated through the Crisis Donate Button on its Crisis Response page, though at the time of writing this article, the button was no longer live. Alongside, the company itself has donated $250,000 (roughly Rs. 1.75 crores) to the Community Resilience Fund for GOONJ, an NGO that is leading relief and recovery efforts in the state.
Through the Facebook India page, which has over 200 million followers, the company has put up a post that prompts users to donate to GOONJ or the CMDRF. The company also notes that several events, groups, and pages sprang up during the Kerala floods to help users aid relief activities, from fundraisers to coordinating transportation and more.
Amazon India Partners with NGOs for relief operations
Amazon India partners with several NGOs, and is urging its customers to donate necessary goods as asked by these NGOs. You can head to Amazon india, choose an NGO of your choice from the mentioned list, add to cart whatever products you wish to donate, pay for them, select a gift registry address, and pay for those items. Amazon and its partnered NGOs will then ensure that the donated goods are sent to the selected relief camps. NGOs on board include Oxfam, Goonj, World Vision India, and Habitat for Humanity.
Paytm activates donation button to CMDRF
Paytm has activated a Kerala flood donation button that is linked to the CMDRF's account directly to help aid rescue operations. Just update your app to the latest version, and you will notice the donation button on the home page itself.
Twitter hashtags like #KeralaFloods and #KeralaFloods2018 are being used on the Twitter Lite version of the app as well. These hashtags are being used by relief operations, and users impacted by Kerala floods can look for these to find appropriate information.
Zomato calls for food donation
Zomato has partnered with Akshaya Patra Foundation to donate food to Kerala flood victims. The company has activated a 'Help Kerala' banner in the 'Order Food Online' section to allow users to donate vegetarian or non-vegetarian food for 3, 6, or 10 people. Prices for these meals start from Rs. 90, Rs. 180, and go up to Rs. 300 respectively. If you cannot see the Kerala Flood Relief Banner, try changing your location to Angamali, Kochi to see the page.
Truecaller allows for donation to CMDRF
Truecaller, just like Paytm, has linked its platform with CMDRF, and allows users to donate via Truecaller Pay. To start using Truecaller Pay, users will first need to link their bank account's UP ID.
Big Basket Partners with Goonj for food donation
Big Basket partners with Goonj and is asking its customers to buy products that can then be delivered to victims. The company has made five bundle packs with different items and is asking its customers to buy any bundles to help the Kerala flood victims. To check out the bundles, quantities, items, and to donate, click here.
Airtel, Jio, Idea, and other telcos
Telecom operators are offering data and calling benefits to prepaid customers in the state, while postpaid users are getting extension on bill payments as well as uninterrupted services due to the disruption resulting from Kerala floods. Idea has launched a service to help locate missing people and know their last location. To help locate a missing person, Idea subscribers can now dial 1948 (toll-free no.) to receive last known location information of the missing person over an SMS. Idea is also offering emergency talk time credit of Rs. 10 for all prepaid customers. Customers can dial 150150# to get the talk time instantly. It will give all prepaid customers 1GB data with 7 days validity, and all postpaid users will have their due date extended. Airtel, Jio, BSNL, Vodafone have also announced similar initiatives.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in NDTV's Gadgets 360.