Communication is an essential part of our daily lives, and it’s even more essential during times of crisis such as the recent floods here in Jakarta. Thankfully few companies and individuals stepped up to help out the public in a time of urgent need.
Telkomsel, Axis, XL Axiata, and Indosat gave away free telecommunication services during the city-wide disaster. The afore-mentioned three telcos gave away free SMSes which can be sent to fellow Telkomsel and Axis users 1. While the latter telco partnered with RIM to give away free Blackberry services like BBM and IDR 5,000 credit (52 US cents) to be used to communicate with other Indosat users.
Telkom, Indosat, and XL Axiata also provided assistance to flood victims in the form of emergency supplies from their emergency posts, as well as donations. Telkom’s posts located all over Jakarta will continue to provide free medication, SMSes, voice calls, and internet until January 27th. I hope the other telco posts can continue their assistance until then as well, which marks the end of the emergency period designated by the Jakarta government.
During the crisis, housing complexes that had their electricity shut down might have had difficulty charging their mobile phones. But Detik reported about a person named Fani who made a generator available for people to use to charge their phones, costing IDR 5,000 (52 cents) for every hour of charging. She managed to earn around IDR 500,000 ($52) each day. While some might see it as opportunistic, it was certainly a service that was much needed during that time, and the price was reasonable and not at all exploitive.
With phones charged and topped up, people could access things like Google’s Jakarta flood resources page.