Army personnel rescuing a man from a flooded locality in rain-hit Chennai, Dec. 3. (R. Senthil Kumar | PTI)
Signs of easing of situation in flood-battered Chennai emerged with no fresh rains and a sharp fall in water levels of Adyar and Kumbh rivers that were in spate following torrential rains as rescue and relief operations continued in full swing and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs. 1,000 crore more aid to Tamil Nadu. Chennai has been submerged under torrential rains that is the worst of the century. (@narendramodi, current affairs, #chennairains, #siliconeer, @siliconeer)
Chennai city and its suburbs experienced a welcome break from the unprecedented rains, the worst in last 100 years, that resulted in a sharp fall in the discharge of waters from Chembarapakkam, Pondi and Puzhal lakes leading to reduction in the water levels of the two rivers that criss-cross the city.
Officials said that from a discharge of 30,000 cusecs of water from Chembarampakkam, one of the key sources of drinking water supply to Chennai city, it has come down to 13,000 cusecs in the afternoon and 5,000 cusecs at night after there were no fresh rains, Dec. 3.
Similarly, there has been considerable decline in discharge of water from Puzhal, Pondi and Madurantakam lakes among others.
The reduction in water levels of Adyar and Kumbh rivers are likely to ease the situation in the city where floodwaters are also likely to recede.
Heavy rains continued to lash coastal Cuddalore district, one of the worst affected areas ever since The North-East monsoon fury started early last month, and Villupuram and Kanyakumari districts and Puducherry as the death toll in the state mounted to 269.
Chennai city remained virtually cut off from the rest of the country with air, rail and road transport services continued to be suspended while public transport was crippled because of flooding of arterial main roads, including the Mount Road over the Marmalong bridge.
While intermittent rains have been forecast for Chennai, coastal and interior Tamil Nadu are slated to receive more rains.
The Grand Southern Trunk Road that links Chennai with Madurai and beyond was cut off after breaches in several places in Kanchipuram district.
Southern Railway announced cancellation of all inter and intra-state train services till Dec. 5 while the airport operations remain suspended till Dec. 6.
Prices of milk, vegetables and food items skyrocketed because of short supply and people were forced to fork out huge amount of money for buying essentials.
With the flood wreaking havoc, Modi undertook an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai and its suburbs and neighboring districts of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.
Later he held consultations with Jayalalithaa at the naval base “INS Adyar” and announced Rs. 1,000 crore aid for relief work over and above Rs. 940 crores given by the Center to Tamil Nadu during the earlier spell of rains in November.
Teams of NDRF and army personnel and police and fire service men swung into action to rescue people from their flood homes in Kotturpuram, Nandanam, Jafferkhanpet, Saidapet and the suburban areas of Velacheri, Madipakkam, Tambaram and Mudichur localities where waters had reached up to first floor.
A total of 28 NDRF teams with over 1,200 personnel were deployed in Chennai where they rescued around 5,000 marooned people by deploying over 110 boats. Two NDRF teams were deployed in Puducherry.
Air Force personnel dropped food packets providing relief to distressed people living on roof tops after floods displaced them from their homes. A total of 14 lakh food packets were distributed, Tamil Nadu government said.
255 Navy personnel were pressed into service with 12 boats and 15 helicopters for reaching relief.
Though the torrential rains took a break and sun came out in brief spells, new areas of the city like Kodambakkam, Ashok Nagar and T. Nagar were still flooded, Dec. 3, after overnight discharge of 30,000 cusecs of water from Chembarambakkam, one of the key sources of drinking water for the city.
Adyar river that flows into the sea after traversing through several areas of the city has been in spate after surplus water from Chembarambakkam and other lakes on the outskirts.
Diesel and petrol are in short supply and there are long queues of motorists at the few petrol pumps that are open.
Also, there was no electricity in most areas. Mobile phones and landline services were choked. ATM and banking services were paralyzed. Some Tamil channels were also off air.
NDRF Director General O.P. Singh said in New Delhi that the force will intensify its operations in the affected areas from today as more of its men are being deployed on the ground.
Chennai will remain overcast with possibility of intermittent rains. Fishermen have been warned not to go to sea. A majority of places in coastal and interior Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are likely to experience more rains.