In the worst flooding to hit the Indian region in decades, the death toll in Jammu and Kashmir has reportedly risen to 175 people. Hospitals, army bases, and several homes are submerged in flooding that is, in some places, up to 3 stories high.
As thousands of families still remain stranded and awaiting any help they can receive, Twitter users in India have been tweeting relief information under the hashtags #KashmirFloods and #JKFloodRelief.
Twitter spokesperson Dickson Seow told BuzzFeed in a phone-call that Twitter India has been contacted by some disaster relief organisations and is working to help them use the platform as effectively as possible. "It's not just about finding people, but it's about getting medicines, blankets, and other supplies out to people – a lot of roads are closed, so Twitter is functioning as an organizational tool," he said. "We've seen similar efforts in Japan, the Philippines, and other areas that have required disaster relief."
#KashmirFloods has been trending across India for the last two days, as people around the nation are sharing information, helpline numbers, and relief locations, as well as inquiring about ways in which they can help those affected in the region.
Some tweets are aimed at helping authorities and rescue workers by informing the media and relief organizations about the status of various flood affected areas:
Headlines Today editor Shiv Aroor confirmed that the Indian army is tracking Twitter for distress calls. dna reports that the Indian Army has joined in the rescue operations with a total of 11,000 people rescued so far, of which 2,000 people have been provided with food and temporary shelters.
Twitter India, Goonj, Cipla, Said Iqbal Memorial Trust, Uday foundation and Indigo Airlines along with a number of volunteers have also started a relief website, which raises funds to acquire basic amenities like food and medicines for the victims. In addition to the site, they also have an active Twitter handle (@jkfloodrelief) that people can tweet at with any information about people stranded or in need of help:
dna reports that the South Kashmir districts are the worst hit, with many areas still cut off from the headquarters. The capital city of Srinagar seems to be the most affected with about 30% of the city area under waters.
Jammu city has been cut off from Pathankote after authorities closed down the three important bridges on Tawi.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took an aerial survey of flood affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Modi said, "Situation in Srinagar is worse. Army, Air force and NDRF teams are working constantly. It is a national disaster. I want to assure people of Jammu and Kashmir that it is not just the disaster for them but for the entire nation."
Modi further added, "Such devastation has not been seen in Jammu and Kashmir in 50 years. Central Government is constantly coordinating with State Government. I have announced compensation worth 2 lakh to families of deceased and 50,000 to injured and have decided to provide special assistance of Rs 1000 crores to Jammu and Kashmir Government for relief work," he said.