Fallen trees are the biggest challenge after Cyclone Mandous, say frontline workers

Since Saturday, nearly 645 tonnes of garden waste has been collected and sent to processing plants in Kodungaiyur and Perungudi

December 11, 2022 08:40 pm | Updated 08:40 pm IST - CHENNAI

Following Cyclone Mandous, the biggest challenge that authorities and citizens faced across the city on Saturday morning was the fallen branches and uprooted trees and the brunt of clearing these up was left to frontline workers, like conservancy staff and fire service and police personnel.

“During this period is when things get difficult, but it is our job after all”, says R. Udayakumar, a conservancy staff who worked in Venus Colony on Saturday. According to him and another worker, Kailaivani, work was split into two shifts – one from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another starting soon after and lasting till 5.30 p.m. “I did not even have time to cook for myself yesterday, and only today [Sunday], I am getting some respite,” Ms. Kalaivani said.

Sarathkumar, lead fireman, Mylapore Fire Station, says that a state of mobilisation was declared at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, which meant that firemen had to remain at the station in case of an emergency, which was still in effect. The Mylapore station received 11 calls on Friday apart from calls regarding smaller issues. Most of the complaints were regarding trees that fell on cars or interfered with electric lines, which meant that Mr. Sarathkumar and his team of 11 had to cut trees and prevent or stop fires. “We cannot turn away any call as the risk of injury from fallen cables is high,” he says. They tend to work during the rain and at odd hours.

Since Saturday, nearly 645 tonnes of garden waste has been collected and sent to processing plants in Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. According to N. Mahesan, chief engineer, solid waste management, the waste would be processed into wood chips and powder to be used as fuel in boilers. On Friday, 207 trees were uprooted in 100 locations.

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