Kerala, the southern state of India, fought back the unprecedented floods not only on the ground with the spirit of uniting together, but also in the cyberspace. As part of helping to those who are stranded in the flood across the state, the ‘cyber warriors’ of the Madhya Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI) organised a team operating as rescue helpline call centre from the CSI Retreat Centre in Kottayam, reaching out to people who were in need through social media, and facilitated the rescue operations by opening a Facebook Group named “KERALA FLOOD RESCUE FACILITATING GROUP” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/284532178801508/). By gathering information about the stranded people- those included elderly, sick, pregnant women, children- and locating them using google map and sharing the information to the rescue operation teams, this team helped thousands of people. Calls and messages about the relatives and friends of those who are abroad also were received here, which helped many whose mobile phones lost the connectivity.
Rev. Viji Varghese Eapen, and Ms. Gibi Jacob coordinated this team as per the guidance of Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India. Binu Mathew Erumedayil, who is an Indian Air Force officer serving the rescue team and a member of the Madhya Kerala Diocese, extended his support to the team. Many youngsters worked from the office at the Retreat Centre and many other worked on the field and joined with different IT firms outside Kerala. They regularly send messages to the Navy and Air Force for rescue and evacuations. There are many more involved in this link, even friends from outside Kerala.
From yesterday, after the water started to gradually recede, this team coordinate the different needs of the relief camps operated by the Madhya Kerala Diocese and others. They inform the volunteers, the specific needs of medicine, food, and clothes of the relief camps so that they can distribute them. The Youth Movement of the Madhya Kerala Diocese under the leadership of Rev. Shibu P. L., the General Secretary, closely associated with this team in relief work.
It is really heartening to see that how many of the young teams, predominantly the IT professionals, led this social media war against the floods across the state using the international connectivity. They took extra effort to be connected with each other and the team from CSI Centre also integrated themselves for a better result. The members of the team seek the prayers of every one to finish this task in the most effective manner.