The Jig Saw

Monday, January 03, 2005

IT works for Tsunami victims

Dhoonde ne se bhagwan bhi milta hain aur aab IT ki madad se Tsunami mein khoya hua insaan bhi milta hain. (if you search for god you’ll find him and now with the help of IT a missing person from Tsunami can also be found!) Don’t believe that do you? Ask Manikantan(11) and his siblings living in a relief camp in Nagapattnam who were reunited with their maternal aunt from Serathoor, Velankani, both fishing hamlets destroyed by the Tsunami.

With news reports of thousands of missing individuals, especially children being flashed across all news channels Anna University mobilized an initial team of 14 within 24 hours. While the technical consultants flew from Expert Software Consultants Limited, Anna University provided the infrastructure and organized volunteers from various institutions to execute the Project Help Milan. Reliance Infocomm provided the communication infrastructure for the mobile camps.

The team has set up a “Missing Persons” help desk at the Collectorate in Nagapattinam and is operating mobile camps in Nagapattinam and surrounding talukas. The volunteers move with laptops and web cameras clicking pictures and capturing data of the “Missing Persons”. The data is simultaneously uploaded to the internet for easy access. Currently the database holds more than 300 records of missing persons and is still growing.

In less than 48 working hours of assembling the Help Milan team we have successfully reunited 4 orphan children from Nagapattnam with their maternal aunt Avvayam in Velankani. Maheshwari (16), Kalaiselvi (13), Manikantan (11) and Mahendra (8) lost their mother when the wall of water hit their village in Nambiar Nagar

About the team –
Help Milan is an Internet based ‘Missing Persons” service that utilizes the technology developed by Expert Software Consultants Ltd and is being deployed by Anna University. The program assists Tsunami victims to locate their displaced relatives, especially orphan children in relief camps. Since the database can be accessed from anywhere, people can even take the help of the nearest cyber cafes. It thus minimizes the trauma of “Missing Persons” and helps reunite with their family. On a successful reunion (Milan: Hindi for reunion) the system records associated information regarding the “Missing Persons” and his/her claimant.


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