Water stagnation, power outage and depleting resources — this was the situation in south Chennai 72 hours after torrential rain from cyclone Michaung brought the city to its knees, even as normalcy was returning in many other parts.
Several areas in south Chennai and OMR continue to reel under heavy inundation, much to the frustration of thousands of residents. From Karapakkam to Thoraipakkam; Sholinganallur to Semmancheri; Perumbakkam to Pallikaranai; and Velachery to Madipakkam, residents say that they have been marooned without food, water or other supplies. A number of them say that even demands for water had not been met.
The two major questions they have are — “When will the water be drained? When will power be restored?”Vidyasagar Jagadeesan, a resident of Pallikaranai, said that the stretch from Narayanapuram to Kamakshi Hospital had been blocked and areas, including Sai Balaji Nagar, Labour Nagar, Vallal Padi Nagar and Pandian Nagar, were inundated. “We have waited for three days. Still, there is waterlogging. People continue to be rescued in boats. This place feels like an island now,” he said.
The Velachery-Tambaram road is cut off as Velachery lake and Narayanapuram lake have overflowed. In Medavakkam, power was restored only during midnight. The internet connection is still patchy. Residents of Velachery, who were rescued in boats, were vexed at the lack of initiatives to drain the stagnated water.
Ravi Sundaresan, a resident of Velachery, said that his 90-year-old relative had to be carried on a boat and admitted to a hospital after she fell sick. “Tansi Nagar, VGP Selva Nagar, Baby Nagar and Annai Indira Nagar still have water stagnation. Authorities are just waiting for the water to drain on its own. How long can we wait? This is unfair,” he added.
Residents of Madipakkam, Ram Nagar and Kuberan Nagar too shared similar stories of distress. Shanti Sivaraman, a resident of Madipakkam, said resources were fast depleting and he was hoping that the government quickly finds a way to pump out the water and restore power. At many locations around OMR, people have been suffering.
While water was being pumped out to the main road from lanes on the sides at Karapakkam, at Kannagi Nagar tenements, where ground floors have been flooded, residents say that even now, there was water inside many houses. “We do not have power supply and have been charging mobile phones at shops and places where we work,” said Kaushalya, a resident.
Deep inside Sholinganallur, behind the Aavin dairy plant, boats were seen supplying milk to residents of apartments. “Water from a lake and a canal are overflowing in the area. Manpower is limited, so are boats. We are trying to help as many people as we can,” said an official of the Greater Chennai Corporation.
Though shops selling provisions and vegetables were open, they were out of milk and fresh vegetables.
There is still only limited access to Perumbakkam as the Medavakkam-Sholinganallurroad is full of water. “There are many requests from residents and friends of residents for rescue efforts,” said Hema.