Kerala government has warned of strict action against individuals found spreading fake information about the ongoing floods in the state. Images and videos of flood and the devastation from last yearâ€™s floods were being circulated through social media and messaging platforms, causing panic among locals.
The state government has also launched a new website called Kerala Rescue to coordinate relief work. The website at the moment provides facilities such as a request for help, search for missing persons, to enrol as a volunteer, to send relief material based on needs of each district, the contact information of various department officials and announcements.
The need for a centralised source for giving out announcements arose after several fake WhatsApp forwards on water levels at dams started doing the rounds.
Thrissur District collector S Shanavas took to Facebook to issue a warning against those spreading fake news about flood situation on the ground. On Thursday evening, he wrote, â€œWe are witnessing reports about the Peechi dam (in Thrissur) being opened being spread on WhatsApp. Spreading videos that cause panic among people over social media will face legal action under section 54 (Punishment for false warning) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005."
The section 54 of the said act pertains to punishment for a false warning, for making or circulating false alarm or warnings on a disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic. Those found guilty will be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to one year or with a fine.
The Facebook page of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) also urged the public to refrain from believing and forwarding WhatsApp messages about the flood and rains in the state.
Those who would like to find accurate information about the floods and relief efforts can keep track of all updates, including district emergency numbers and helpline numbers, on the social media pages of the district collectors.
Trivandrum Collector 04712731177
Kollam Collector 04742793473
Pathanamthitta Collector 04682222505,04682322515
Alappuzha Collector 04772251720
Kottayam Collector 04812562001,9447029007
Idduki Collector 0486 2233111, 0486 2233130
Ernakulam Collector 0484 2423001
Thrissur Collector 0487 2362424, 9447074424
Palakkad Collector 0491 2505309, 2505209, 2505566
Malappuram Collector 0483 2736320, 0483 2736326
Kozhikode Collector 0495 2372966,04962620235,
Wayanad Collector 8078409770,04936204151
Kannur Collector 0497 2700645 0497 2713266 8547616034
Kasaragod Collector 04994255010
The following pages of the state officials, too, can be followed:
- Kerala Chief Minister's Office and his personal Facebook page
- Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, KSDMA
- MM Mani, the Electricity Minister of Kerala
- KK Shailaja, the Health Minister
- E Chandrashekharan, the Revenue Minister
- G.Sudhakaran, Minister for Public works
- Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Co-operation, Tourism & Devaswoms, Kerala
The official pages are:
The number to seek assistance from are:
The Indian Navy: 8281292702. 0471-4851335
State Disaster Management Emergency: 1070
Toll-Free Number: 1077 (STD codes must be added)
Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre: 0471-2364424, Fax: 0471-2364424
Kerala State Disaster Management Control Room: 0471-2331639, Fax: 0471-2333198