How Brands Have Responded to the Nepal Earthquake

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The Nepal Earthquake, which has left thousands dead and countless more displaced, is being seen as one of the worst natural disasters to have hit the country in recent times. As thousands await rescue and evacuation, as well as a simple means of communication after mobile services went down, several brands (technological and otherwise) have stepped in and made it possible for survivors to contact their loved ones. We take a moment to appreciate their proactive philanthropy.

Google India’s ‘Person Finder’ is a free search tool that helps friends and family search for missing persons. The tool also allows people to request and provide information about missing persons. The Search is also available through SMS in India and the US. Users just have to text “search ” to +91-9773300000 in India or +1-650-800-3978 in the US.
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Facebook’s Safety Check feature allows people affected by Nepal’s earthquake to inform their loved ones of their ‘safety status.’ The feature was first launched in October 2014, and tracks people (based on profile information or check-in updates) in areas hit by natural disasters. Users in the area will be prompted by Facebook to update their status as safe to let their friends knows of their safety.
Apple is raising funds for the American Red Cross via its iTunes and the App Store in suggested amounts ranging from $5 to $200. Donations are made even more convenient via American Red Cross’ “Emergency App” on the Apple Watch.
Viber has switched off ‘Viber Out’ billing so users in Nepal can make free calls to mobile and land line numbers anywhere for the next 48 hours. For those survivors who have access to an active Internet connection, this is a good tool to let their loved ones know that they are safe.
Radio cab service, Uber made it easier for its customers to donate for Nepal’s relief.
BSNL will charge all calls made from its network to Nepal as per local rates for the next three days. Similarly, MTNL will also charge local rates for calls made to Nepal for next three days. Airtel said they will allow free calls to Nepal on its network over the next 48 hours, enabling customers across the country to get in touch with their families and friends in Nepal. Further, Idea Cellular also announced that it will calls made to Nepal from its network at just Re 1 per minute against the regular call rate of Rs 12 per minute.
Soon after the Indian Under-14 girls’ team returned from the country on Sunday, 26th April, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) board offered Rs 11 lakh to the Nepal Football Association.
Air India, Indigo and Spicejet stepped in too, as they offered to take relief material for free to Kathmandu. In the meanwhile, relief material from India has been airlifted to the neighboring nation with the help of the Indian Army.
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Not all brands reacted sensitively though.

Lenskart, which was recently in the news for positive reasons for its ‘Eye for an Eye’ campaign, sent out a text message asking people to ‘shake it off’ and shop for ‘Vincent Chase Sunglasses’. The brand was trending soon on social media and an apology was offered soon after.

Fashion apparel brand American Swan too sent out a promotional message, with an ‘earth shattering’ offer. The unforgiving social media audience ensured that an apology was tendered shortly.

We’re certain to see more developments in the week to follow.


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