By Our Staff Reporter
Residents at OMR, whose life was returning to normalcy after the massive flood on Nov.22, were once again hit hard by the continuous showers that lashed the city on Dec.1. The low lying areas at Sholinganallur, Semmencherry and other areas were once again filled with water distrupting the lives of the residents.
People resorted to stay in the second and the third floor of the apartment complexes as many areas were filled with water up to 5 ft to 7 ft deep. The surplus water from the nearby lakes and water bodies made the situation even worse.
“We had purchased groceries, necessary house hold items and diesel for generators in advance to avoid last minute hassle,” said Harsha, a resident of Sholinganallur.
Most of the residents at Thoraipakkam stayed indoors without electricity and food supply. “On Dec.2, I had to wade through waist level water to purchase bread and biscuits for my wife and children. So, we packed our necessary belongings and stayed at my friend’s house at Adyar”, says Manivannan, a resident at PTC Colony,
Houses situated near the canal were also marooned in flood and many houses were submerged. People residing in those areas were asked to stay in the relief camps set up in the local schools and community halls.
“Lack of proper urban planning can be attributed as one of the reason for the prevailing condition in the locality. The place has no proper storm water connection and sewage water is getting mixed with the stagnant water due to blocks in the manhole. We could have prevented the damage to some extent if these issues were looked into,” says Sarangapani, a resident at Semmencherry.
Reported by K. Rajshree
Fire men from Tamilnadu Fire and Rescue service led by Meenakshi Vijayakumar, Deputy Director of North western region, carried out rescue operations at Perumbakkam, Semmencherry, Sholinganallur and the suburbs that were marooned in flood on Nov.16. The team had more than 100 firemen and 17 fire engines summoned from Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur, Thiruvanamalai and Vellore districts to rescue the residents at OMR.
Meenakshi and her team elaborate the relief and rescue work undertaken by them, “Our members were called in on Nov. 16 at 1 a.m. to evacuate the stranded residents in the inundated areas at Semmencherry. Then the squad headed out to Perumbakkam where the locality was flooded by the surplus water from nearby lakes and marsh.”
“The rescue team faced many challenges as the flood was very severe. Even the main road was filled with 3ft to 4 ft deep water. At some places, the water level went up to even 12 ft. Our members struggled to wade through the interior areas. In some places, we made more than ten trips a day to provide food and to rescue the stranded residents. More than 1300 people were rescued in a day. Though the fire men were vaccinated before the operation, many of them were running high temperatures and some had blisters on their legs,” says a team member.
Though the people were a bit apprehensive to leave their respective houses, they co-operated with us after we explained to them the situation. In some areas, the residents chose to stay in their apartments, she added.
After evacuating people from the flooded streets, mini buses and van services were arranged by R. C. Kudawla, IPS ADGP, Director, Fire and Rescue Services to transport the residents who wanted to stay at their relatives’ home. A
relief camp was set up at a local Church at Sholinganallur junction to bring in the rescued people.
Meenakshi also noted that the rescue team was well supported by district collectors and local councilors. She said,
“We were surprised by the local people who did their best to help us out in the rescue operation. Fishermen from local fishing community volunteered their boats and accompanied us to visit the water covered areas. Employees from IT companies, members from non- profit organizations and trusts lent their help by taking care of the rescued people by supplying food, blankets and necessary aids and taking care of their travel arrangements at the relief camp.”
The team recounted that they were able to help people of different nationality. A Srilankan national who was undergoing dialysis treatment and a Srilankan national who has had a heart surgery were taken to Global Hospital for treatment. A family from Saudi Arabia was dropped at the airport.
We have been working continuously from Deepavali. Throughout the process, we walked in neck deep water, rescued animals, attended snake calls and underwent many physical problems. But, we felt rejuvenated when we witnessed happiness and gratitude in the face of the rescued people”, concludes Meenakshi.
Doctors from Voluntary Health Services providing medical assistance to the flood affected residents in Bethel Nagar, Injambakkam on Dec.10.
Rescue team members were stationed near Thoraipakkam police station to rescue the stranded residents at OMR. Photo taken on Dec.4.
Govt.High School at Thoraipakkam is seen flooded on Dec.4.
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