Chennai floods: It’s heartening to see how actor Siddharth and RJ Balaji are leading relief efforts

Tamil Nadu is battling one if its worst floods in a century as several parts of the state have been submerged and cut off from essential supplies. Chennai has been among the worst hit with constant downpour has turned the capital into a virtual island. The death toll in the disaster is over 280 even as the government and Armed Forces grapple to keep the city afloat.

The deluge in Chennai has not spared the elite either as film stars Kamal Haasan and Siddharth showed how even the affluent neighbourhoods have gone under. Haasan who lives on the posh Eldams Road in Chennai's Teynampet area, told Firstpost, "To describe the situation as calamitous would be an understatement. If this can happen in Chennai can you imagine the plight of the rest of Tamil Nadu?”

Popular South Indian actor Siddharth, who is known in Bollywood for his role in Rang de Basanti and Chashme Baddoor, tweeted photographs of the flooding in his house saying, "I am an affluent actor. This is my house. Imagine rest of Tamil Nadu".

However, as the situation in Chennai has gotten worse, there also seemed to be some hope as many people have risen to the occasion to provide whatever relief and rescue is possible.

 Chennai floods: It’s heartening to see how actor Siddharth and RJ Balaji are leading relief efforts

Siddharth and Balaji in Chennai. Image Credit: Twitter @Soudha

An earlier Firstpost article mentioned how Twitter users have been leading the relief effort online. From updates about the situation on ground, to a dedicated Google sheet and website chennairains.org to collate all information, social media has been instrumental is helping Chennai get back on its feet. Be they gathering supplies through crowdsourcing, checking up on people who have lost connectivity or offering shelter, the impact of social media was evident. Even Twitter India has been using hashtags such as #ChennaiRainsHelp to gather all relevant information and several others have been using it to either ask for aid or help out the ones who are in need.

Leading the effort from the front are two popular personalities who have chosen to go out on the streets and help people themselves. Actor Siddharthand RJ Balaji from Big FM 92.7  have gotten together a team of volunteers to assist the people stranded in Chennai.  In a rare instance of a celebrity going out on ground zero, Siddharth and Balaji have done some exceptional work by co-ordinating relief activities in the city by tweeting out advice, listing down supplies needed and guiding volunteers. They have introduced the hashtag #ChennaiMicro for the conveneiicne of picking up of parcels and giving out other information.

Here's a brief sample of their work so far:

Siddharth and Balaji even drove around the waterlogged city in order to transport people stranded without supplies

His request for vehicles was immediately picked by several people including Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of DMK leader Stalin and Prithi Ashwin, wife of Indian cricketer Ravi Ashiwn.

As panic in the city spread, there were several rumours such as escaped crocodiles making rounds. Siddharth and Balaji, who were on the ground, cleared the air and even made sure people were not hindering the effort.

They have even set up a trust fund for people from other places to contribute to the relief effort.

The contribution of Siddharth and Balaji along with their volunteers did not go unnoticed as many on social media praised their initiative.

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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2015 19:48:04 IST