White flags raised and Malaysians step up to help

PETALING JAYA: A web-based application to crowdsource and centralise white flag reports nationwide has been created by a team of computer science students.

The Sambal SOS website was launched on Sunday within a week of the White Flag movement starting at the end of June.

It allows users to report white flags being hoisted in their area by geo-tagging the location on Google Maps, which is embedded in the application, with the contact information of the person in need.

Aside from reporting white flags, users can also ask for help or identify the nearest food banks.

At the time of writing, the app had eight white flags in the Klang Valley and 18 food basket icons indicating food banks available.

Members of public can contribute to the crowdsource through the website at www.sambalsos.com.

Despite the website already being operational, the developer – who requested anonymity – told The Star that the team was fixing some bugs.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group has also been set up to support the White Flag movement.

The “Bantuan Bendera Putih PKP”, which currently has over 5,000 members, serves as a platform to connect those in need with those who are able to help.

“Seeing the difficulties faced by people, Malaysians have organised the White Flag campaign to help those in need.

“You are invited to join this Facebook group to channel information about houses with white flags. Through this group as well, you can ask for help if you are in a desperate situation,” the group’s admin posted.

However, the group also warned the public to be careful as there could be irresponsible people who would take advantage of the generosity of others.

According to Utusan Malaysia, neighbours have pitched in to help a single father who hoisted a white flag after finding out about the movement.

Lorry driver Yaakob Montel said he had not been able to get any work since the implementation of Phase One of the National Recovery Plan in June, and was running out of food.

The 54-year-old from Alor Gajah, Melaka, added he raised a white flag after reading about the campaign on social media and did not expect that within two hours, help would come from the concerned local community.

“I am thankful that so many are concerned with the plight of others and to some extent, have helped me get on with life in these difficult times.

“If anyone is in the same situation as me, respond to this campaign instead of taking extreme action,” said the father of three children, aged between nine and 17.

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