NEW DELHI: The death toll from the floods in Chennai has crossed 260, with the army and National Disaster Response Force moving in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a Rs. 1000 crore rescue package.

Helping in smaller but extremely novel ways is the startup sector in India. Take the example of Ola Cabs -- a homegrown Uber rival -- that began dispatching boats to those stranded and/or in need of supplies. Food ordering app Zomato has a provision for users to donate food to those affected by the floods in Chennai, and has tied up with a local NGO to ensure that the food is delivered within 30 mins. Paytm is offering free instant recharges of Rs 30 for friends of users stuck in Chennai. Others that are offering help include Uber, Zoomcar, BigBasket, Practo, Housejoy, Lookup, OYO and Stayzilla.

When the rains started mid November, users on social media half-joked that Ola should be sending out boats.

Ola obliged by sending out actual boats.

Ola hired professional boaters to pick up people or deliver water and food to stranded residents. The boats were complete with umbrellas, rain gear, windcheaters…

Zomato, a food ordering app, has a feature enabling users to donate meals to those in Chennai through its app. A meal for 2 costs Rs 100, and the company has tied up with local NGOs to deliver the meal in 30 minutes.

Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal tweeted "15,000 meals bought by our users for #Chennai. Zomato adds to it to make it 30,000. Let's all help get to 100k - we can do this."

Uber launched a hashtag campaign #KeepChennaiMoving offering free rides to those in Chennai.

Zoomcar -- a self drive car rental company -- is using its fleet as ambulances. "Ten SUVs have helped many reach their local hospital. We're getting calls every 10 minutes," ZoomCar founder Greg Moran told TOI., an online grocer, used its microsite NammaChennaiRelief as a platform for people to donate groceries and supplies to those affected by the floods. The site has tied up with Chennai-based NGO Give Away to deliver goods every two days.

Practo, a healthcare discovery platform, put together a list of doctors on call.

Housejoy began offering free services such as electrical check-up, plumbing service, mosquito control etc.

Lookup, a Bangalore-based messaging app that connects consumers with local businesses, partnered with a volunteer-driven non-profit Bhumi by enabling humi volunteers to collect clothing, food and other necessities right from donors’ doorsteps.

Gurgaon-based affordable stays startup OYO Rooms began offering special rates in the city, so that those whose homes were flooded could book affordable accommodation.

Stayzilla, an online aggregator for budget accomodation, began encouraging people to list their homes as open to those affected by the floods.

On the other hand, the aviation ministry has had to warn private airlines not to flood their coffers with extra money, as fares from airports near Chennai shot up to six times the normal lastminute rates -- touching almost Rs 50,000 in one case -- after the floods. “Fares for these commercial flights have been fixed at Rs 2,000 per passenger for travel to the northern states and Rs 1,000 per passenger for travel to the southern states," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said at a press conference.

What do you think of the efforts of the startups? Genuine concern or an attempt to capitalise on disaster? Tell us in the comments below.