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Virtual media drives 'real' rescue operations in Nepal

 New Delhi, April 27 (IANS): Considering the popularity and reach of social networking sites in the modern world, the Indian government is pro-actively using Twitter and Facebook to reach out to those affected in quake-ravaged Nepal.

From giving information about the missing ones to offering aid, the government and netizens have gone all out to utilise the power of social media, also known as virtual media, to offer a helping hand to the ones in need.

Soon after the 7.9-magnitude temblor jolted Nepal and parts of India on Saturday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) started the twitter handle "@MEAcontrolroom" in order to inform people about latest rescue efforts and sharing helpline numbers.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj promptly swung into action by responding to queries of families and friends of those missing or stranded in the Himalayan country.

And this prompt response by the government is garnering praise from the twitterati.

"Well done Sushma Swaraj for making MEA cool and proactive! Huge Respect for @adgpi, @IAFIndia, NDRF and doctors," tweeted Amit Kumar, an IT consultant.

Desperate Amritansh Dash contacted the government seeking help to find a 78-year-old man by posting his image and details on Twitter, and in less than 20 minutes his post was acknowledged by MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

"Thank you for the information. We are communicating this to our officials on the ground," said Swarup.

People are using hashtags like #Nepalearthquake, #ThankyouPM, #OpMaitri, #NepalQuake, #IndiawithNepal to show solidarity and offer help to the people in quake-ravaged country.

"Sir/ma'am, me and my volunteers are ready to fulfill all the blood requirements for Nepal," posted BloodDonorsofIndore, a blood donors group, addressing the tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Similarly, another Twitter user, eager to help the people, came forward and said: "What's the site for donating money for earthquake victims?"

Apart from this, the government is also keeping the world updated through pictures about the aid it is sending to Nepal.

People also took to Facebook to share information helpful for those in crisis.

"Nurses in and around Bir hospital trauma centre. Please immediately report. Due to lack of assistance surgeries are on hold ! If you know anyone who is a nurse please pass this message," posted Max Dipesh Khatri from Bir Hospital, Kathmandu.

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