PETALING JAYA: In the span of just six days, nearly 150,000 social media users took their own initiative to organise and deliver much-needed help to victims of one of Malaysia’s worst floods.

As news reports about the floods emerged on Friday (Dec 17), many turned to platforms such as Twitter to reach out and connect to other volunteers seeking to help ease the plight of those trapped in their homes or seeking shelter at relief centres.

Some volunteers organised the rescue of flood victims using their own four-wheel drive vehicles, lorries or boats, while others delivered food and other needed items.

These are among the findings of an analysis by The Star from Dec 18-23, which recorded 1.5mil online conversations on flood aid by social media users in Malaysia.

The analysis was done using a social media listening software that employs a keyword tracker to record mentions of terms such as “flood relief”, “flood donations” and “volunteers”.

The searches generated 1,500,530 posts (including retweets or shares) from 139,587 unique authors which contained the keywords from Dec 18, with a significant peak of 41,245 posts on the topic at 11pm on Sunday (Dec 19).

Due to the wide variety of social media platforms – not all of which are easily searchable – the actual number of social media users who helped organise aid during the floods is likely higher.

The analysis found that the hashtag #DaruratBanjir was mentioned in nearly a million tweets to circulate information regarding the flood, making it the most popular.

Many social media users widely shared information about flood victims and alerted NGOs and groups offering aid about individuals and families in need of help.

Others, such as Twitter user such as @YoBoiRiri compiled details of groups offering assistance.

Many organised online donation drives, allowing the volunteers to buy supplies and get the items quickly to those in need.

It wasn’t just about rescues and the distribution food and essential items. Some of the volunteers brought toys for children, others came with food for pets.

Many of the messages in the online conversations also revealed that Malaysians from all races stepped up to volunteer at evacuation centres, food banks and victims’ homes.