The recent Assam floods have created a havoc in the state. Almost 19 lakh people in 22 districts of the state and more than 3,300 villages have been affected due to heavy rainfall. The affected districts include Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Jorhat, etc. With houses submerged, boats have become homes to many. They sleep, cook and eat on the boats. Almost 80 per cent of the Kaziranga national park, home to the one-horned rhino, is submerged in water. Even in Bihar, around 25 lakh people have been affected by floods across 10 districts.
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Some disasters are inevitable but the sufferings in consequence can be minimized if a good communication system is in place. Therefore, communication is an indispensable requirement during such kind of a situation. This helps the NGOs to reach out to the affected people and also helps the affected people to reach out to the NGOs for help.
When a disaster takes place, most victims find themselves unable to contact the concerned NGOs for help due to high call traffic experienced on their phone lines. Moreover, there might be a limited number of people to pick up calls compared to the volume of calls they actually receive. Also, the communication infrastructure which may include physical PBX hardware for some NGOs, gets destroyed which makes it difficult to carry out the relief and recovery operations post a disaster.
Rural Volunteer Center was one such NGO which faced similar problems when they wanted to help the flood affected people in Assam. They used the MyOperator Free Disaster Helpline Program which helped them increase communication accessibility by providing helpline numbers based on cloud. This enabled them to address all the emergency calls, without missing any.
Here’s what the COO of Rural Volunteer Center had to say…
“MyOperator’s disaster helpline number helped our NGO to manage the call traffic and enabled us to attend multiple emergency calls at a time. The call routing feature helped us to route calls to our volunteers located across the region.”
RVC’s primary aim was to convert villages and communities in flood-ravaged regions into institutions prepared to predict, confront and cope with floods. Its volunteers were not only trained to take prompt action in such cases but were well versed with basic first aid and evacuation techniques.
Their main problem was that they were unable to reach out to the victims of the floods due to improper communication system. They faced connectivity issues and a high call drop rate which made it difficult for them to connect with the affected people.
MyOperator’s Free Disaster Helpline Program provided RVC with a toll-free number which helped them in the following ways:
1. Instant activation of the service due to cloud based infrastructure: Since the helpline number runs on cloud-based infrastructure which requires no physical hardware, this helped them to reach the affected people in no time. Moreover, the risk of the hardware getting destroyed was eliminated. This helped the NGO in staying available during the time of disaster without any loss of connectivity.
2. 24*7 availability for emergency calls: The helpline number helped them in staying available 24*7 to the victims of the disaster. Their volunteers worked in different shifts to stay available all day long to the affected people. They attended calls even during the night because the volume of calls received was very high as the flood affected people were large in number. Whenever they missed a call ,it got tracked which enabled them to call back on that number.
3. Reduced missed calls enabled them to help the victims effectively: The call routing and tracking features helped them in distributing calls among the team members to reduce the chances of missing calls. Using a normal mobile number, they could attend only one call at a time but MyOperator’s disaster helpline number allowed them to attend more than 10 calls at a time. Therefore, it helped them to reduce their call drop rate.
4. Monitoring of all the calls: The calls could be tracked and managed through the online management panel which helped them in monitoring the overall calls being answered and missed by their volunteers. This further helped in the improvement in answering the emergency calls.
5. Mobile Presence allowed picking up of calls from anywhere: The calls could be picked from anywhere and anytime by the volunteers with the help of their mobile phones. It wasn’t necessary for them to sit at one place and attend calls. In fact, this program helped them with location flexibility.
Also, they publicized their helpline number across various channels such as radio, television, newspapers and social media. This further helped them to get in touch with other disaster affected people, who went unnoticed.
Register for your disaster helpline number by sharing your contact details now. We’ll provide you with helpline numbers for free, whenever there’s a calamity without any further documentation.