Groundviews

#FloodSL: Key Accounts to Follow

Featured image courtesy Dinuka Liyanawatta/Reuters

Sri Lanka is experiencing flooding after what is said to be the most torrential rains since 2003. Despite being beset with heavy flooding in 2016 as well, the country was still unprepared for this year’s downpour, which has affected over 500,000 people, with the death toll currently at 169 according to the Disaster Management Centre.

Most people on Twitter have been using the hashtag #FloodSL to consolidate information – but the glut can be confusing.

In breaking news situations, misinformation tends to spread fast, with journalists battling also to combat unverified reports.

At times like this, there is an increased need to verify information before sharing. An easy way to do this is only share messages from trusted sources.

Here is a list of people who have consistently shared vital information on the flooding:

Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRedCross)

Sri Lanka Red Cross has been updating its Twitter feed with real time weather updates, landslide warnings, and the activities of its volunteers, who are currently deployed across the country helping with disaster relief.

The Disaster Management Centre (@DMC_lk)

Although initially inactive, the DMC’s Twitter account is now sending out situation reports. Although they are primarily in English, the account has promised to send out trilingual updates with several updates in Sinhala going out the morning of May 29th. However, they are yet to deliver on these promise, though some updates have been going out in Sinhalese.

Groundviews has been sending out video updates based on DMC’s data.

Azzam Ameen (@AzzamAmeen)

The BBC correspondent has been updating Twitter followers with situation updates and weather warnings, as well as coverage from on the ground in Kalutara. He has coverage in both English and Sinhalese.

Gopiharan Perinpam (@gopiharan)

Apart from situation updates based on DMC reports, Gopiharan is also sharing information on collection points for relief items, relief items needed and different ways citizens can donate to assist in the relief efforts.

Meera Srinivasan (@meerasrini)

The Hindu correspondent also visited the Veyangalla district in Kalutara, giving an on-the-ground update on the situation there.

Amantha Perera (@amanthaP)

Journalist and Asia Pacific Coordinator for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, Amantha Perera has been tweeting updates on the weather and progress of Cyclone Mora.

Melani Manel Perera (@AsiaNewsMelani)

Melani has been tweeting flood-related updates in both English and Sinhalese.

Nalaka Gunawardene (@nalakag)

Columnist and new media researcher Nalaka Gunawardene has been highlighting the way technology can be used to enhance flood relief efforts.

Maatram (@MaatramSL)

For updates in Tamil, vital as not many of the flood updates on Twitter are being disseminated in Tamil.

Collectively, these accounts give important information on the ground situation, as well as information on relief needs and ongoing efforts.

Readers who found this article enlightening should read, “Floods 2017: Sharing the blame” and “The Floods: An update.”