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Amidst Horror Of Mumbai Bomb Attack, Twitter User Creates 'World's Most Moving Spreadsheet'

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MUMBAI
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Twitter users are used to seeing reports quickly spread of injuries and misery in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or disaster.

True to form, as three separate blasts tore through the city of Mumbai on Wednesday reports began to spread of the numbers injured, and then killed. It made for grim reading.

Look in the right places, however, and Twitter can be a source of hope as well as fear.

Today it was possible to watch in real time a striking example of the co-operative spirit that social networks can help to build, as users came together to collaborate on a shared spreadsheet that collected phone numbers, offers of help and details on doctors available to assist the wounded that grew to hundreds of entries in just a couple of hours.

At first Twitter users across the Indian city were simply publishing their phone numbers and offering help to their individual followers.

One user, @fonseyka, tweeted: "Anyone stuck on the western suburbs side and need shelter, hit me up." Another, @anilchintz, said: "At Saat Rasta, byculla..Call me on 9---------6 if u r stuck somewhere around. Dont risk travelling."

It was when one user in New Delhi took it upon himself to compile the information into a single spreadsheet, and then asked other users to add their details, that things really took off.

At first there were just a few entries on the spreadsheet. At 15.45 there were just 30 entries. But as the idea began to spread the information poured in. By 16.15 PM there were more than 100 entries on the spreadsheet.

An hour later there were well over 250 offers of help, advice and even blood.

One user @jacbobrohan in Bandra West, offered a place to stay, while @MithunK offered the use of his office phone for those who needed to contact loved ones.

A user in the Andheri East section of the city (@gsurya) logged in to offer his type A2-negative blood. Others did the same.

Still more offered car rides and provided official numbers for medical help and emergency services. One office got in touch to offer floor space for anyone who needed a place to sleep, while @qtfan offered his services as a doctor.

The user who started the spreadsheet was amazed by the response. He said: "Started the Mumbai Help spreadsheet with 5 phone numbers. Came home to find 200+. Before I choke, I salute everyone."

And as the link spread throughout Twitter it became hypnotic and inspiring watching for users even outside of India.

"Who knew a spreadsheet could be so moving?" tweeted BBC journalist Dave Lee.

Indeed. For while Mumbai and its citizens are still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the attack, it might be some comfort to know that there is no lack of people willing to help.

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