With no logistical help, relief teams face bumps in Chennai

Unruly elements try to make political capital out of relief work; Army teams say they have become directionless, are requested to rescue relatives of VIPs at the cost of common people; Two more naval ships from Visakhapatnam arrive with relief and rescue material and seven lakh litres of water; Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces Rs. 2 lakh to the kin of those killed in the floods in Tamil Nadu.

December 05, 2015 11:27 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 07:24 am IST - Chennai

People of Thideer Nagar, near Greames Road, in Chennai were fortunate to return home after the floodwaters receded in their locality on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu

People of Thideer Nagar, near Greames Road, in Chennai were fortunate to return home after the floodwaters receded in their locality on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu

As the armed forces and the National Disaster Response Force continued operations to rescue marooned people in Chennai and its surroundings for the third day on Saturday and volunteers from various agencies rushed relief material, ground-level irritants emerged as a challenge to them.

A section of Army personnel complained that they were directionless in reaching people who needed them most as local logistical support was not available in full measure. Also, they had to handle requests to rescue relatives of VIPs at the cost of the commoner.

In the absence of a coordinated flow of relief materials to the affected areas through a State nodal agency, volunteers of non-governmental organisations and philanthropists who headed to relief camps in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore were confronted allegedly by unruly political elements who sought to hijack their relief efforts. Social media was abuzz with complaints from volunteers who brought loads of relief materials for distribution to the affected people that some ruling party functionaries forced them to stick the photographs of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the parcels. In some places, they were allegedly not allowed to distribute the aid until they agreed to allow some politicians to “inaugurate” the relief camp.

However, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam asked people to lodge complaints about such activities and promised action against such elements.

People rescued from marooned localities complained that they were not adequately warned by the local administration before releasing water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir on December 1.

Two more ships, INS Shakthi and INS Sahyadri , arrived at the Chennai port from the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam on Saturday carrying 100 tonnes of relief materials and seven lakh litres of packaged water. The ships carried aircraft, 25 inflatable boats and a special rescue team of 108 divers.

The Army deployed 60 rescue and relief teams.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs. 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who killed in the floods.

A list of areas which have reporter heavy inundation to the Chennai Coporation as of 8 p.m. on Saturday

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