Braving the deluge: Chennai's worst December

Chennai's limp back to normalcy will be slow and painful, especially for low-lying Velachery, Urapakkam, Kotturpuram and Saidapet which remain flooded even two days after the rain has let up.
Rescue efforts underway in Kotturpuram, one of the Chennai's worst affected areas Rescue efforts underway in Kotturpuram, one of the Chennai's worst affected areas

Residents were convinced that November was the worst but stock taking and rehabilitation had to wait a week longer as the maniacal rains of December took everyone by surprise and completely crippled the city. According the India Meteorological Department, starting October 1 through December 4, the state has recieved a total rainfall of 592.2 mm as against an expected downpour of 370.2 mm, a deviation of nearly 60% above normal. For the week ending December 2, Chennai city has recieved 347.3 mm of rain as against the normal 53.4 mm, deviating a whopping 550% from normal!

Thousands were marooned on terraces as floodwaters reached up to the first and second floors in many localities including low-lying Velachery, Urapakkam, Kotturpuram and Saidapet. With no power supply and limited to zero mobile connectivity, residents stood waiting with bated breath for rescue workers to arrive and move them to safety. 

As rainwater stagnated in most pockets due to want of un-encroached drainage paths, the South of the city went under mainly because of the Adyar river water breaching its banks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adyar river that navigates through most parts of South Chennai and its suburbs was seen swollen, carrying an additional 30,000 cusecs of water that was released from the Chembarambakkam lake, one of the city's main drinking water supply reservoirs

Unable to carry the excess load of water gushing out of Chembarambakkam, Adyar breached its banks in a couple of spots, quickly flooding the low-lying neighbourhoods of Kotturpuram, Jafferkhanpet and Nandanam along its right bank

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) added 20 more teams to speed up rescue and relief operations across the city, taking the total tally of the specialised workforce to 50

 

Boys out for a swim in one of the football grounds turned swimming pools in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar

A completely inundated Gandhi Nagar Cricket and Sports Club right beside the AdyarRiver Adyar flowing precariously close to settlements along its right bank. Hundreds of families living along the river and lake banks were shifted to safety as soon as the flood warning was issued by the Met department

With several cars submerged and scores of others stuck in flooded roads and inundated car parks, the city's public transportation has once again come to the rescue. Chennai Metro and MRTS trains were seen operating in full capacity. The state government has made all rides on MTC buses free of cost from December 5 to 8

 

 

With most of the city's communication and road links cut off for days, this, probably is Chennai's costliest wake up call till date. The need for efficient urban planning and sustainable infrastructure development could not have been more well-timed

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