Heavy rainfall has thrown life out of gear in several parts of Tamil Nadu where educational institutions remained closed even as the weather office forecasts heavy downpour in the next 24 hours. In Chennai, residents had a harrowing time due to water-logging and delay in train services. Several areas, including Mylapore (South Chennai), Vysarpadi and Perambur (North Chennai) have remained inundated since yesterday due to flooding.
As several water bodies breached their banks, hundreds of families living along Adyar river and other low lying areas are being evacuated to safer places. With roads and rail tracks submerged in water, major city stretches including Koyambedu, the place that houses city’s largest bus stand, have been sealed off by authorities. Traffic is being diverted creating blocks that stretches upto several kilometres from city’s southern gateway. Boats are being used in flooded areas to rescue stranded people.
Water seeped into hundreds of houses in south Chennai and the disaster management teams are stretched to their limits attending frantic calls seeking immediate rescue of residents. Transport services were the worst hit with several buses getting stuck in subways, fully submerged under the flood water. Suburban train services were also cancelled temporarily as the rail tracks were not operational along several stretches.
While preparation of the Chennai corporation was ineffective, residents ended up holed in their apartments from Sunday afternoon while their vehicles were floating within the compounds. Officials said standby teams are attending cases in several parts of city that includes rescuing families and removing trees fallen on houses and vehicles. At least 20 families in IIT-Madras have also been shifted to the campus guest house after the water entered their basement houses.
“Despite worst hit situations in the past, Chennai Corporation did not anticipate the need for evacuations. Now they are making last minute arrangements to shift families to shelters,” said K Venkatachalam, a senior government employee who resides at Velachery, whose family could not come out since Sunday noon as the entire area is flooded.
The Chennai district administration issued a warning on Monday morning asking people living on the banks of Adyar river to move to safer places as the flood waters from overflowing Sembarambakkam lake is likely to hit the area. In Saidapet, several families in the slums were shifted to safer places on Sunday night fearing a major flooding.
12 more persons have been killed in incidents of drowning and wall-collapse between November 11 and 15, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said as she also took stock of the situation at a review meeting with her cabinet colleagues and officials.
Jayalalithaa herself set out from Poes Garden to her R K Nagar constituency in the northern parts of the city for inspection and she found herself stuck in traffic for sometime. Seated in her vehicle, she said the government is taking all necessary steps for the safety of people.
“All senior ministers are camping in flood hit areas and districts such as Cuddalore where heavy storms have caused severe damages already. Ministers are personally attending victims and distributing relief package which includes Rs 5000 cash, rice, dhoti, sari and kerosene. Corporation also has announced emergency numbers for all its regional zones,” said an officer.
71 people have died in rain related incidents so far.
(with inputs from agencies)