An Indian call center has received thousands of distress calls from victims of Hurricane Rita after it set up a hot line last week for people affected by the storm a half world away, its director said.
Employees at the call center in Gandhinagar, the capital of India's western Gujarat state, are providing Texas residents with information about relief operations, where to get food and gasoline, and other questions, center director Jim Iyoob said.
Employees assigned to the hot line have been working around the clock and many haven't gone home for days, he said.
"We have been handling on an average 20 to 25 calls every hour," Iyoob told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It gives me a wonderful impression about the Indians, dedicated to the cause of saving thousands of lives in some other part of the world."
In one case, a couple with their children drove about 100 kilometers (60 miles) to flee from the hurricane, but ran out of gasoline and were stuck for six hours. They called the hot line number and were directed to a gas station which was only 1Ѕ kilometers (a mile) away, Iyoob said. The couple later called back to thank the hot line, he said.
Effective Teleservices is bearing all the costs of the hot line, he said.
Dozens of Western companies farm out software development, engineering design and back-office work such as call centers to countries like India to save costs.