Stamford, Conn. – Dec. 4, 2015 – AmeriCares is deploying medical teams to Tamil Nadu, where relentless flooding has closed schools and a major airport in Chennai and claimed at least 269 lives. According to a press release issued here, the first team, organized by the AmeriCares India office in Mumbai in partnership with the Indian Medical Association, has headed to Chennai, Thiruvaloor and Kanchipuram in the coming days.
Floods caused by the heaviest rains in some 100 years have kept the city under a sheet of water, leaving 269 people dead. Many people were stranded in their homes, with the army and air force deployed for rescue operations across the city.
Meanwhile, Facebook activated the “Safety Check” feature for its users in Chennai Dec. 2, while Google has compiled all critical information under its “Crisis Response” tool to provide them relief in the flood-hit city, media reports said. As the torrential rains in Chennai continued for the fourth straight day, with power and telephone lines down in many areas owing to flooding, Facebook’s Safety Check feature would allow people to mark themselves as “safe” from the floods, Time reported.
The feature, which debuted in October 2014, allows Facebook to ask users whether they’re safe if located near a natural disaster. A click or tap on the “I’m Safe” button lets friends and loved ones know straight away. Users can also check to see whether their friends are safe too.
Facebook’s Safety Check feature has now been deployed on several occasions, the most recent being last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
AmeriCares is focused on ensuring families displaced by the floods have access to essential primary care services, including medication, as well as health and hygiene products that will help prevent the spread of communicable diseases. AmeriCares is also delivering water purification tablets and jerry cans in areas without access to clean water.
“Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other waterborne diseases are a major concern,” said Shripad Desai, managing director of AmeriCares India. “We will help ensure families affected have access to medical care and safe drinking water to help prevent the spread of infectious disease.”
Exceptionally heavy rainfall in Tamil Nadu in recent weeks has caused the worst flooding in 100 years, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Daily life has been crippled in Chennai, the capital, with washed out roads and major power outages.
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years, saving lives and building healthier futures for people in crisis. AmeriCares India, based in Mumbai, provides emergency medical and humanitarian aid in response to floods, cyclones, earthquakes and other disasters. Most recently, the AmeriCares India team responded to the Nepal Earthquake, the 2014 flooding in Jammu and Kashmir and the 2013 flooding in Uttarakhand.
AmeriCares India also provides health education, supports health workforce safety programs and operates seven mobile medical clinics that provide free primary care services at 130 locations throughout the slums of Mumbai.
To make a donation to support AmeriCares flood response in Tamil Nadu, go to www.americares.org/
Fundraising campaigns are also afoot on social networking websites. “Help us get food and other essentials to those stranded in Chennai due to floods,” reads a link shared by a Facebook user, Satish Sabapathi.
“Here is little something we can do to our brothers and sisters in Chennai. The fundraisers are doing an amazing job of providing food and basic support to all the affected people. Let’s give our share of support my dear friends,” says Sabapathi is a post. Zahid Ali, another Facebook user from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, was all praise for social media. “Thanks for social media [like] Facebook for helping the people [stranded] in the Chennai flooding,” his post says.
In an effort to provide all critical information related to floods in the city at one place, Google has created the Crisis Response tool – “South India Flooding” – which enables users access to emergency helpline numbers, crowdsourced list of places and people offering shelter, map of crowd-sourced flooded streets and other such important information.
It also offers important tweets, updated news and videos on Chennai floods. The torrential rains in Chennai have impacted normal life, with millions struggling to cope with lack of basic necessities last week.