Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.

    SUBMIT

Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence

Disclaimer:

Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » Buzz
3-min read

Cyclone Fani: How Odisha's Youth are Helping Children Connect With Family Back Home

As the city grapples with lack of electricity and communication network, people working outside the state are worried about their elderly parents, relatives and friends back home. So much so, that social media is flooded with desperate messages to help them connect with their loved ones.

Samiksha Pattanaik | News18.com

Updated:May 6, 2019, 7:45 PM IST
facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp
Cyclone Fani: How Odisha's Youth are Helping Children Connect With Family Back Home
As the city grapples with lack of electricity and communication network, people working outside the state are worried about their elderly parents, relatives and friends back home. So much so, that social media is flooded with desperate messages to help them connect with their loved ones.
Loading...

The ‘extreme’ severe cyclonic storm Fani may have passed but the trail of devastation it has left behind is clear from the fact the capital city Bhubaneswar has been cut off from the rest of the country. There’s no electricity, water or phone service in most parts of Bhubaneswar and this is the situation in the capital city alone. The situation in Puri, where the cyclone made landfall on Friday, is worse.

As the city grapples with lack of electricity and communication network, people working outside the state are worried about their elderly parents, relatives and friends back home. So much so, that social media is flooded with desperate messages to help them connect with their loved ones.

This is where a bunch of young professionals stepped in to do their bit in this moment of crisis.

“I have been through this situation in the past, and when I was in Bangalore before, every cyclone or flood I had to rush back because I could not get any information about my parents,” says Prasant Biswal, a 34 year old state government employee based in Bhubaneswar.

“When we came to know that our friends, who are outside the city, are struggling to get in touch with their elderly parents and are panicking, we thought why not use our own network and help them. That’s the least we can do in this time of crisis,” he adds.

Biswal has brought together a group of 5-6 volunteers who are working all day to connect people with their family and friends. “Currently, we are struggling with lack of phone services. Our main coordinator Abheet Dwivedi , who is a 31 year old central government employee based in New Delhi, gets information from people who connect with him on Facebook or other social networking platforms. As he is in Delhi he can easily get information without facing any network issues.”

This is Biswal's team in Bhubaneswar:

822a40ef-1440-43f1-bb7f-08d67e75fb9c (1)

Dwivedi then passes on the information (address and contact details) via SMS to volunteers on the ground in Bhubaneswar.

Prasanta and his team have identified a few locations where the network is patchy yet manageable. They go to those locations, check their messages, go to the given address to check on people and then send back the information to Dwivedi who, in turn, updates the worried children. “Sometimes we send them photos of their parents to make them happy,” Biswal adds.

Biswal says they have got requests for help from people in Delhi, Netherlands and Australia, who are frantically looking for ways to connect with their family.

Sonika Pradhan, a 27 year old marketing professional, is also trying to pitch in following this massive destruction. “There’s barely any electricity. So I identified a few locations where there's network coverage for different service providers. For electricity, I have listed cafes and restaurants where one can sit and charge their phones.”

She is asking people on social media to contact her if they are struggling to get in touch with their family. “I am fortunate to have a mode of transport and access to electricity. A lot of friends outside are worried and unable to contact their families. I can feel their pain as I stay away from my family too.”

“I have opened my doors to friends and family who need to get fresh or charge their phones or get drinking water. This is the time when we have to stand united as the city is doomed,” she adds.

Sumit Sourya Senapati, a 27 year old entrepreneur, is going out of his way to assist people with cash and drinking water. “People here have been without electricity, water and cash since last three days. I tried to acquire some 15 L water jars from another district to help people with water,” Senapati says.

“As most ATM machines are down or out of cash, I am assisting people with cash in return of UPI payment,” he adds. A one man army, Senapati is reaching out to people on social media, asking them to DM him for any assistance.

There are many such young professionals who are making the best use of social media to help people communicate with their loved ones. The city’s youth have come out in full force to help rebuild their community and emerge from the devastating aftermath of Cyclone Fani. ​

Click on the link above to contribute to cyclone-hit Odisha.

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Read full article
Loading...
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch

facebookTwitterskypewhatsapp

Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results