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Chennai: Death Toll Rises to 12; Boats and Tractors Used for Rescue Efforts in Rain-hit City

The city and adjoining districts faced relentless rains on Monday as the severe cyclonic storm Michaung loomed over the north coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.
NDRF personnel evacuate residents from a waterlogged area after heavy rainfall owing to Cyclone Michaung, in Kanchipuram, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.

NDRF personnel evacuate residents from a waterlogged area after heavy rainfall owing to Cyclone Michaung, in Kanchipuram, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI

Chennai: A dozen people lost their lives in various rain-related incidents in and around the city while personnel on fishing boats and farm tractors were engaged in rescuing stranded people on Tuesday. The city and adjoining districts faced relentless rains on Monday as the severe cyclonic storm Michaung loomed over the north coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.

Eleven others, who sustained injuries in rain-related incidents, were receiving treatment in various hospitals, officials said.

Several District Disaster Response Teams (DDRT) were formed to carry out relief work in all rain-affected areas across the city.

In Muthialpet locality in the city's outskirts, 54 families were rescued, and a woman who had just given birth was relocated to a safer place from Saligramam in the city.

More than 250 people from low-lying areas found refuge at a school camp in Kotturpuram. Additionally, 22 passengers stranded after their local bus got stuck in rainwater, were transferred to a relief camp set up at the Middle School in Pallavaram.

Since Tuesday morning, most parts of Chennai experienced a respite from rains, allowing officials to focus on rescue and relief operations in affected areas.

During a press conference at the Chennai Corporation headquarters on Tuesday morning, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin stated that relief measures were being undertaken on a war footing.

Stalin mentioned that across the nine affected districts, including Chennai, a total of 61,666 relief camps were established. Approximately 11 lakh food packets and one lakh milk packets have been distributed so far, he said.

The Chennai Corporation has brought in 5000 workers from other districts for flood mitigation works in the city. These workers utilised farm tractors and fishing boats in flooded areas such as Periamet and other parts of north Chennai for rescue operations and distributing relief materials.

Residents in areas like suburban Tambaram, Ashok Nagar, Kattupakkam, and Perungudi complained about the lack of power restoration despite the rain ceasing for several hours.

Mukesh Chordia, a resident of Ashok Nagar, mentioned that although water had receded from the main roads in the area, power supply had not been restored.

Press Trust of India (PTI) Chennai's Deputy News Editor Annie Thomas residing in Koymabedu near the city's main outstation bus terminus said, "Last time (2015), after three days of being stuck due to waterlogging, we waded out in thigh-level water and stayed in serviced apartment for a day, then at a friend's place for two days." Thomas added, "This time our apartment complex is once again surrounded by water. We are on the second floor. There is no power supply and I am conserving the charge on my phone as much as possible. I don't know how long tap water supply will last."

Chief Minister M K Stalin informed reporters that the power situation was being restored in phases. He noted that the handling of the situation was far better compared to the 2015 floods when the AIADMK was in power.

Stalin pointed out that the 2015 floods were caused by an unplanned release of one lakh cusecs from the Chembarambakkam reservoir in the city's outskirts into the Adyar river, leading to man-made floods. He said that the current situation, natural floods caused by torrential rains, was efficiently managed by the state.

He explained that during the current spell of rains, only a maximum of 8,000 cusecs of water was released into the Adyar and Cooum rivers from the Chembarambakkam reservoir in a planned manner.

Among the 12 people who lost their lives in rain-related incidents were a 60-year-old woman in Foreshore Estate and a 48-year-old man who worked as a head constable at the Integral Coach Factory police station, according to an official release.

Further detailing the DDRT's measures, the official release mentioned the rescue of three individuals trapped when a makeshift generator room collapsed due to heavy rains. Additionally, three members of a family were safely evacuated after their house was submerged in water in Adyar.

The release also noted the closure of nearly 16 subways due to inundation and the removal of fallen trees at 60 locations.

Meanwhile, Minister for Milk and Dairy Development T Mano Thangaraj stated that the production of five lakh milk units at the Ambattur dairy of Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers' Federation Ltd, popularly known as 'AAVIN,' was affected as the factory was completely submerged due to rainfall.

Thangaraj added that the AAVIN diaries in Sholinganallur and Madhavaram were operating at full capacity, supplying milk to Chennai from factories located in other districts.

He assured, "A sufficient amount of milk and milk products are available," while urging retail outlets to cooperate in distributing milk to consumers.

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