Chennai underwater: Airport shut, railways inundated as Met predicts more rains
Chennai is drenched again. After a few days of respite from torrential downpour, a fresh round of heavy rain crippled life here, flooding numerous roads and neighborhoods. Many sewage drains gave in under the relentless water logging.
Chennai is drenched in record breaking rains, it has been termed as the heaviest in over 100 years. Torrential downpour pounded several parts of Chennai and its suburbs and Puducherry triggering a deluge. Daily life has been crippled in the city with flooding in numerous roads, neighbourhoods, train tracks and airport runways, along with lack of power supply and transport services.
The Army has been deployed in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing. Many sewage drains gave in under the relentless water logging.
Two columns of the Army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu government sought military assistance. The Navy is also on stand-by. Shreya Ramnath, a resident of T. Nagar says, "We are marooned, there is waist-level water all around us, the groceries in the house have gotten over and we have not had electricity for the last three days." Power has been cut in several areas as a precaution, while people have been advised to stay wherever they are.
Heavy rain in the catchment areas of the Chembarambakkam reservoir (25 centimetres between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on Tuesday) forced the authorities to discharge water at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second into the Adyar river. The Chennai Collector issued a flood warning, asking people living along the river to move to safer places. According to municipal administration, around 3,000 people living along the banks of Adyar have been relocated at safer place.
Puducherry and northern districts including Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chennai will be affected the maximum, a MET bulletin said. As the death toll in rain-related incidents touched 188, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa reviewed the situation and deputed ministers to inspect the affected regions. According to reports, three lakes in Kanchipuram district were breached due to heavy rains and inflows.
Jayalalithaa said police, fire and rescue, national and state disaster forces and Coast Guard were on stand-by for need-based evacuations. “I have ordered officials to take precautionary measures before releasing surplus water from reservoirs and evacuate people living in low-lying areas,” she said.
In view of the water logging, Chennai Airport authorities have shut operations till 6 am on Thursday. All airlines, including Air India, have cancelled their operations from Chennai airport.
The Airports Authority of India has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to all air operators in this regard, an AAI spokesperson said in New Delhi.
The spokesperson said Chennai airport authorities had initially shut operations till this morning but due to incessant rains it has now decided to extend it till 6 AM tomorrow.
Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice containing information concerning the establishment, condition, or change in any facility, service or procedure, among others, in airspace management.
The Central government released about Rs 900 crore recently pinning it to flood relief but a top official of the Tamil Nadu government clarified that at least Rs 500 crore of this money has been pending because of "unfair devolution" by the 14th Finance Commission, the rest has been "pending for a year." Unlike other states, Tamil Nadu has not rushed to the Central government for funds at the first sign of crisis.
“More army personnel are coming to Chennai from Bengaluru,” a Defence Public Relations official said adding “they have already left for Chennai.”
Trains were delayed and some were cancelled as authorities struggled to cope with the aftereffects of the fresh torrential rains in the Tamil Nadu capital. All flight operations at the Chennai airport were suspended until further orders after the runway and the tarmac were flooded. Since Tuesday morning, Chennai has received 12 cm rainfall; its suburbs have received 18 cm.
Oh god, please keep my Chennai and its people safe from the floods
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) December 1, 2015
A large part of the road near Madhya Kailash temple, in the heart of the city in an area that connects the IT corridor, caved in resulting in a huge crater and disrupting traffic.
Even in hitherto unaffected areas, people complained that water entered their homes and roads flooded with surging waters. Several areas in the city went without power as supply was cut as a safety precaution.
The situation has worsened in suburban areas of Tambaram and Mudichur after the Chembarakam lake overflowed and an unprecedented 26,000 cusecs of water was being released flooding the downstream areas. These areas had already suffered heavily during the earlier spells of rains.
Ola cab service has put out a helpline number in case you're in Chennai and stuck. Ola has floated a ferry service recently.
— OLA (@Olacabs) December 1, 2015
— Times of India (@timesofindia) December 1, 2015
The weather department has warned of heavy rains in Chennai and northern Tamil Nadu over the next three days. The government has declared a holiday for schools in Chennai and neighbouring Kanchipuram district.
The Hindu has put out a ready reckoner on safety tips for driving in the rain.
A flood alert has been issued along the banks of Adyar river in Chennai.
During the last spell of rains, around 180 people lost their lives in the four districts of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and Thiruvallur.
Water logging on the suburban railway tracks forced multiple train cancellations. Southern Railways cancelled 12 trains and diverted 15 more.
According to reports, three lakes in Kanchipuram district are overflowing.
Schools kids never thought they’ll have such a long holiday.
Schools have not reopened since Deepavali, classrooms are swimming in rising pools of rain water.
Tamil Nadu Battered by Rain, Army Called in for Rescue Ops: Live Updates https://t.co/DIrPIDjzHl
— India Forum (@IndiaNewsForum) December 1, 2015
State capital Chennai has recorded the wettest November of the century.
— CNN-IBN News (@ibnlive) December 1, 2015
Technology companies are asking staff to work from home as the commute to work and back is getting treacherous or impossible.
Social media is buzzing with snapshots of Chennai as the brown-water Venice. As the state rushes in to deal with the crisis, the upshot is that all reservoirs are full up and that’s going to be a big help for next summer.
Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy sought immediate financial assistance of Rs 100 crore from the Centre for relief work. In an official release, Rangasamy said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh requesting interim relief to deal with the situation.
Forecast till 5 December
2 December: Heavy rain at a few places with very heavy rainfall at isolated places would occur over Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. Heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places would occur over Coastal Andhra Pradesh and heavy over Kerala & Rayalaseema.
3 December: Heavy rainfall at a few places with very heavy at isolated places would occur over Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. Heavy rain at isolated places would occur over Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
4 December : Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Tamil Nadu & Puducherry and heavy over Kerala.
5 December: Heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Tamil nadu & Puducherry.
with inputs from Agencies
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