Cyclone ‘Jal' left the city wet and cold on Sunday, even while keeping the residents in suspense on when and where it will cross the coast.
The rain, since Saturday night, battered several stretches of roads in and around Chennai, resulting in suspension of Metropolitan Transport Corporation services in some places.
Along the coast, several huts and even concrete houses were damaged as seawater entered homes. Police patrolled the affected areas and asked the residents to move to safer locations, even as many stayed put fearing that their houses will be burgled.
Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin accompanied by Mayor M. Subramanian visited low-level areas, including Thiruvanmiyur, Pattinapakkam, Vyasarpadi and Ayanavaram. Mr.Stalin inspected the pumping of stormwater from Ganesapuram subway.
He said that the Corporation had set up community kitchens in Gopalapuram, Chintadripet, Pattalam and Basin Bridge to cater to residents of low level areas. Chennai Corporation has kept ready 40 medical teams to tackle emergencies, a press release said.
Tidal waves, several metres high, eroded the road linking Ennore to Minjur, forcing MTC to divert its buses. As large pieces of rocks from the eroded portion were strewn all round, much of Ennore High Road turned unmotorable.
“A stretch of around 4 km connecting Vellivoyalchavadi and Minjur has been severely damaged. Buses will be operated only till Vellivoyalchavadi instead of up to Minjur,” said V.Babu, Managing Director of MTC.
A house in Periya Kuppam, Ennore, was damaged on Saturday night following the heavy waves. As the area was flooded, many residents were moved to safer locations.
Annai Sivagami Nagar and neighbouring areas in Ennore remained water logged on Sunday bringing life to a stand still. Chinna Kuppam, Indira Gandhi Kuppam and Kasi Viswanathar Koil Kuppam in north Chennai and slums in Srinivasapuram Kuppam and near Thiruvanmiyur beach were also affected. Fishermen in these areas arranged for cranes and shifted their boats away from the shore.
Tiruvallur Collector T.P.Rajesh said the district administration had identified 58 places, including 30 fishing hamlets, in the district as cyclone / inundation prone areas and opened 35 cyclone shelters, where around 50,000 people could be accommodated.
The Marina and Elliots Beach in the city wore a deserted look, with only a handful of visitors braving the strong wind to watch the tidal waves.
J. Babu, a watchman in one of the buildings in Santhome, had built his hut a few hundred feet away from the shore. On Saturday, water entered his home in Srinivasapuram Kuppam and in the process he lost some of his belongings. “I had built the hut last week but now it is damaged. I was living in the housing board flat earlier but could not afford the rent,” he said.
Fisherman Sasi Kumar's hut, a few yards away, was similarly damaged. Both men have sent their family to relatives' home. According to residents of the Kuppam at least 100 huts have borne the brunt of the high tides.
Residents in Thiruvanmiyur Kuppam said though they were close to the shore they did not plan to vacate homes. “If water enters our homes we will stay in the nearby temple or the community hall but we cannot move out of here,” said Subramanian, a fisherman.
Power supply affected
The winds and snapped heavy tree branches resulted in suspension of power supply in a few areas. Cases of tree uprooting were reported from several places in the city. Ambattur, Adyar and parts of West Velachery faced intermittent power cuts. Residents in some parts of north Chennai said power supply was suspended in areas that were flooded.
There were reports of power disruption from almost all the southern suburbs, however, it was only for a brief period. Tamil Nadu Electricity Board engineers said the supply was suspended as a precautionary measure. In some places like Madipakkam (South), the power cut lasted for over three hours due to damage to overhead power cables that fell when tree branches crashed on them. Similar incidents were reported from Radha Nagar in Chromepet.
Danger signal No.10 was hoisted on Sunday morning at the Chennai Port. According to a release, all cargo vessels were moved out of the port to avoid damage to them and the port's infrastructure. An emergency control room has been set up. A team led by Chennai Port Trust Chairman Atulya Misra visited the fishing harbour to monitor the safety of fishermen and their assets, the release said.
(With inputs from M. Lavanya, S. Aishwarya, Aloysius Xavier Lopez, R. Sujatha, K.Manikandan and V.Venkatasubramanian)
Keywords: Cyclone ‘Jal'