MSSRF initiative helps fishermen during Hudhud cyclone
MSSRF’s communication initiatives for fisher folk came in very handy during the Hudhud cyclone. The initiative has been giving real-time information to fishers in Tamil Nadu (since 2011) Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (since 2012) through various methods including 24 hour helpline, audio message and mobile application for fisher folk.
During the period from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night, when the Hudhud Cyclone hit coastal Andhra Pradesh, it proved useful for the communities who were earnest to get information. During the period 3725 fishers received constant updates about the Hudhud Cyclone. The 24/7 Helpline numbers in Andhra Pradesh 7569059856 and7569079047 dedicated for fishermen received more than 250 calls in that period. This is over 10 times more than the number of calls they receive on a regular basis. 3000 fisher communities registered for audio messages received updates and the remaining accessed information through the Fisher Friend Mobile Application developed through an MSSRF initiative. Usually, fisher folk access the helpline to get weather, livelihood and other related information. During earlier disasters such as the Neelam and Thane cyclone as well, these communication efforts came in useful.
The Foundation has been working in 7 districts in Andhra Pradesh and 13 coastal districts of Tamil Nadu besides in 2 districts of Odisha providing regular updates to fishing communities. This line is unique in being a specific support service dedicated for fishing communities. The initiative is in collaboration with INCOIS, IMD and Qualcomm and is an interesting example of Information Communication Technology for Development.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.