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New Delhi: Micro blogging platform Twitter said on Wednesday it is launching a dedicated search prompt in India to help people stay updated with the latest information from authoritative sources around disaster relief and preparedness efforts.

Twitter said every time someone searches for certain keywords associated with disaster relief, a prompt will direct them to the relevant information and sources of help available on Twitter. The company said it is an expansion of Twitter’s #ThereIsHelp prompt, which was specifically put in place for the public to find credible information focusing on disaster preparedness and emergencies.

Twitter has partnered with the National Disaster Response Force (@NDRFHQ) in India to expand its efforts towards handling disaster situations. The search prompt will be available on iOS, Android, and on mobile.twitter.com in India, in both English and Hindi.

SN Pradhan, director general, National Disaster Response Force, said: “While disasters both natural and manmade can undoubtedly cause widespread humanitarian havoc, open internet and social media can immensely benefit the ecosystem by enabling people to connect with each other and with government agencies.”

He added that timely updates through Twitter can support the government in communicating to the people on rescue/relief services available to them and what they can do to receive it. “Through the launch of this search prompt and our collaboration with Twitter, we are optimistic about bringing authentic and credible information to the fore to promote open public communication, in times when it is needed the most.”

Twitter said the feature will be reviewed at regular intervals by its team to ensure that all related keywords generate the proactive search prompt.

The search prompt will also generate a list of government agencies working towards disaster response and relief in India, so people looking for support can easily identify and establish contact with credible authorities.

Mahima Kaul, director, public policy, India and South Asia, Twitter, said relief teams have time and again turned to Twitter to connect with the people on ground, and share real-time information on provision of aid, rescue operations and emergency resources. “With the launch of this initiative, we are furthering our commitment to partner the citizens, civil society as well the government. The dedicated search prompt will ensure there is uninterrupted access to relevant and authoritative information, such as important updates on critical transit and utility outages, efforts to oversee crowd management, and establish direct access between the affected areas and the rescue teams.”

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