Chennai rains: Startups like Paytm, Practo, Ola, Zomato lend a helping hand

By: | Published: December 3, 2015 5:37 PM

Chennai rains: Even as Chennai continues to reel under torrential rains that has disrupted daily life, Indian startups like Paytm, Practo, Ola, Zomato and OyoRooms have lent a helping hand to those affected by offering medical service, mobile connectivity, stay arrangement and transportation arrangement.

chennai floodsChennai floods: With the rains intensifying in the last two days, Ola has handed over boats to the Fire and Rescue Department of Tamil Nadu who have deployed them in Saidapet and Ekkattuthangal in Chennai. (AP)

Chennai rains: Even as Chennai continues to reel under torrential rains that has disrupted daily life,  Indian startups like Paytm, Practo, Ola, Zomato and OyoRooms have lent a helping hand to those affected by offering medical service, mobile connectivity, stay arrangement and transportation arrangement.

It all started two weeks ago with Ola, the online taxi hailing service,sending out boats to rescue people in the water logged areas. With the rains intensifying in the last two days, Ola has handed over boats to the Fire and Rescue Department of Tamil Nadu who have deployed them in Saidapet and Ekkattuthangal in Chennai. In addition to this, Ola has also provided raincoats and umbrellas, for rowers as well as passengers. The company has created safety zones/ temporary ‘Homes’ in the city.

Practo, the doctor discovery platform has put out a locality wise list of verified doctors and hospitals, who are available for help.

Another startup is trying to provide better data in identifying the worst hit areas with the help of technology. The Delhi based data analytics startup SocialCop has partnered with an NGO to start a crowd-sourcing effort to map inundated roads in Chennai, where people can zoom in on the maps and check the status. The team had also used mobile technology to optimise disaster relief effort during the Nepal earthquake earlier this year.

Yet another important problem that people are facing is with the mobile connectivity. While helps have been pouring in from neighboring cities and towns, Paytm, the m-commerce and e-commerce platform has Paytm has offered free mobile recharges to help residents stay connected.

“Amidst the deluge, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to stay connected with family and friends. Residents can call on 18001030033  and share the mobile number that they want to get topped-up. Paytm will facilitate a Rs 30 recharge instantly and absolutely free of cost, the company announced.

Food delivery startup Zomato has started with ‘Meal for Flood relief’ delivery service initiated on Wednesday afternoon for people stranded in submerged parts of Chennai, where in if one buys a meal for one in Chennai, Zomato will add another to it and send a meal for two to areas where people were stranded because of the rains and flooding. However this service was paused later in the day following overwhelming response.

“Our users have bought over 55k meals today. Zomato makes it 110k. Didn’t expect this at all. At 110k, we are pausing to ensure our restaurant partners aren’t choked. We want to deliver well on the trust you placed in us. We will find more capacity tomorrow and try to switch this on again. Until then, thanks to all for the incredible support. Faith in humanity restored.

BlaBlaCars, the ridesharing marketplace has agreed to tag its vehicle moving from Bangalore and neighbouring cities, to carry the relief material to Chennai in coordination with volunteers in Bengaluru.

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