Cyclone Michaung | Death toll rises to seven in Chennai and neighbouring districts; over 61,600 moved to relief camps

Additional workforce is being sourced from neighbouring districts to undertake relief operations in Chennai and three neighbouring districts on war footing

December 05, 2023 07:49 pm | Updated December 07, 2023 04:26 pm IST - CHENNAI

People moving in the stagnant water following heavy rainfall due to Michaung Cyclone at Velacherry in Chennai on December 5, 2023

People moving in the stagnant water following heavy rainfall due to Michaung Cyclone at Velacherry in Chennai on December 5, 2023 | Photo Credit: Akhila Easwaran

The death toll due to torrential rains,rain-related incidents caused by Michaung cyclone in Chennai and three neighbouring districts rose to seven on December 5. Meanwhile, over 61,600 people were moved to relief camps in nine districts, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said.

Cyclone Michaung tracker December 5, 2023

While addressing a press conference in the Secretariat, Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena said additional workforce is being sourced from neighbouring districts to undertake relief operations in Chennai and three neighbouring districts on war footing and that necessary additional equipment was also being sourced. While over 3,000 workers are involved in clearing up debris and removing trees, another 2,000 workers were expected to join the mission by Tuesday evening. Over 11 lakh food packets and over a lakh milk packets have been distributed.

Also read | Cyclone Michaung revives memories of December 2015 deluge

Mr. Meena said while 70% of bus services have resumed in Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur district, 30% of services have resumed in Chennai, as the demand was less and some areas reported water stagnation. About 800 buses were operated in Chennai on Tuesday afternoon. Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail Limited M.A. Siddique said that Chennai metro has resumed normal services.

As for communication, about 70% of the mobile phone towers were functional, while 30% of them were down. A nodal officer has been appointed to coordinate with the service providers and the electricity officials to resume their functions, Mr. Meena said. Over 800 of the total 900 fuel pumps in these four districts were operational as of Tuesday afternoon. About 1,200 fishing boats that were either completely or partially damaged, while about 3,500 catamaran and nets have reported damage. Over 130 boats have been deployed in GCC and Tambaram, while there was no need for boats in Avadi.

Director of Fire and Rescue Services Abhash Kumar said that over 1,700 fire personnel were involved in rescue operations and rescued over 1,850 people. Chennai Police Commissioner Sandeep Rai Rathore said police personnel have been involved for rescuing people from inundated areas. Over 18,000 police personnel were involved in rescue and relief operations across Chennai city. Home Secretary P. Amudha said that over 3,000 personnel were involved in rescue operations in Avadi and have rescued over 3,300 people.

Secretary of Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department D. Karthikeyan said all efforts were on to ensure that normalcy returned as soon as possible. Chairman and Managing Director of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited Rajesh Lakhoni said electricity supply has been resumed in several areas and as water receded, it would be resumed in the remaining areas.

The Navy personnel helped people evacuate from inundated areas in Madipakkam and Kolathur using inflatable boats. About 150 people including elderly, pregnant women and children were safely evacuated by the Navy personnel.

A spokesperson of the Union Ministry of Defence said that on the request from the Greater Chennai Corporation, the Navy team comprising divers and swimmers with inflatable Gemini boats were deployed for providing flood relief in Madipakkam and Kolathur, the suburbs of Chennai, from 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

In Madipakkam, they rendered assistance to stranded people in submerged colonies of Periyar Nagar and Ram Nagar and also covered areas in Kolathur, he said. “The teams assisted people stranded in residential colonies due to water logging in the area. The teams also provided help in assisting people essentials from nearby areas. The relief effort is continuing,” he said.

Two Air Force helicopters on Tuesday dropped relief material to benefit people stranded in Chennai. They dropped ration supplies in Adyar and areas close to Chennai harbour.

A spokesperson from the Union Ministry of Defence said the Air Force Station, Tambaram, carried out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations on Tuesday evening.

“The relief material was dropped in the general area of Adyar and close to Chennai Harbour. Two helicopters were launched to drop 500 packets of food materials and ration for people stranded in cyclone-hit areas in Chennai that were cut off due to flooding,” he said.

More sorties would be launched to distribute relief supplies in other affected areas, he said, and added that the operation was being conducted in close liaison with the Tamil Nadu government.

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