Amidst the hustle and bustle of rescue operations at the building collapse site at Moulivakkam, a group of people are involved tirelessly in providing basic amenities and preventing outbreak of an epidemic.

About 150 sanitary workers of local bodies of Avadi, Pallavaram and Tambaram are engaged in clearing garbage generated at the site, and ensuring drinking water and toilet facilities. About 40 workers have been working during the nights to maintain sanitation.

In the last three days, staff members of the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration (CMA) have removed over 12 tonnes of garbage from the site and dumped them in nearby yards including the one in Kundrathur.

Rajasekar, a sanitary worker from Pallavaram, said, “We have been divided into teams and go around collecting garbage and empty water bottles. We clear garbage at least thrice a day from the bins placed around the site,” he said.

In the midst of anxious moments and emotional scenes, these workers continue to fill water in tanks installed at the site and, along with a team from the department of public health, spray disinfectants in the area. Nearly 1.2 lakh litres of drinking water has been supplied since Monday.

The workers are involved in cleaning mobile toilets set up at the site as well as the nearby school which currently houses the relatives of those feared to be buried under the rubble.

Officials of CMA, including from Poonamallee and Tiruvallur, camping at the site said a minimum of 1,000 people, including the family members camped at the school, were at the site at any given point of time. “It is disheartening to see family members break down at the site during rescue operations. We don’t mind staying long hours in helping the rescue workers and maintaining sanitation at the site,” said an official.

Meanwhile, Greater Chennai Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association has also supplied free packaged drinking water to the rescue team for the past two days. The association’s president, S. Arumugakani, said, “We want to help people involved in rescue operations at least in a small way. About 30,000 litres have been provided in pouches and bottles so far.”

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