Downtown

How the rains turned some residents into volunteers

Volunteers regulated traffic in the stretch and helped motorists who got trapped in the floodwaters. Photo: Vaishali R Venkat   | Photo Credit: Vaishali R. venkat

The unrelenting rains and floods did nothing to dampen the spirits of over hundreds of young slum-dwellers who were standing in waist-deep water for nearly two days – the days that immediately followed the rain of the century that the city received -- to guide motorists for a safer ride. Though their houses were submerged in water, they rose to the occasion to help those stranded in the traffic.

These volunteers showed their chivalry in helping women cross the floodwaters. They were generous enough in organising traffic in the stretch and helped motorists who got trapped in the floodwaters. Most of the roads connecting Poonamalle High Road and Anna Salai got marooned and the familiar stretches too became quite dangerous for people to navigate. Gandhi-Irwin Road was comparatively better for people to reach Anna Salai.

However, the stretch near the Corporation Park was flooded, making it difficult for people to take a turn to Pudupet. Unaware of the alternative route, several cars and vans took a u-turn and a few others parked their vehicles at the sides of the road.

A few drivers who dared to cross the flooded stretch got stuck. The volunteers pushed the trapped vehicles, including MTC buses and two ambulances, that were about to turn turtle. A few volunteers were sitting on top of the wall of the Corporation Park and gave pedestrians a helping hand, literally, to enable them to go through the floodwaters safely. Inside several flooded streets, the volunteers placed barricades, using sari bits tied to the sticks, near the stretches that were too deep for vehicles to enter.

Muthupandi and his friends picked up a few stones from the broken pavements and branches of fallen trees and placed them on the sides of the roads, for easy movement of two-wheelers as well as pedestrians. They were guiding commuters to take the stretch that was not very deep. Pichamuthu, a labourer, says “We are not trained to save people during emergency situations and we cannot afford to help the victims by donating money. But we did whatever we could for those who were trapped in the flood waters.”


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 10:06:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/how-the-rains-turned-some-residents-into-volunteers-on-gandhiirwin-road/article7980522.ece

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