Chennai

Innovation in the times of flooding

Makeshift boats — a dish antenna and a float made of empty plastic bottles and foam — help residents get to safety—Photos Shaju John and S. R. Raghunathan

Makeshift boats — a dish antenna and a float made of empty plastic bottles and foam — help residents get to safety—Photos Shaju John and S. R. Raghunathan  

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When K.P.K. Nagar in Perungudi was inundated, residents were at their wit’s end. The inundation was sudden. On Tuesday night, while the families were fast asleep, water levels had risen. On Wednesday morning, many woke up with flood waters gently washing over them.

Many of the residents did not know where to turn for help.

And so, they went about organising their own rescue. They took whatever junk material they could lay hands on – anything that would enable them to float to safety – and created their own rescue boats.

They stuffed big polythene bags with discarded foam and empty plastic bottles and created their own floats. For people to sit on them, they appropriately placed planks underneath the polythene bags.

It seemed to be a community effort with everyone pitching in with materials and time. After all, all of them wanted to get out of the locality which was hopelessly submerged.

They started making the floats in the early hours of the day and soon had 25 of them, with which 70 percent of the locality were rescued. The sight of little children and senior citizens sitting on the floats as they were being pulled through the waters to safer ground attracted a sizeable crowd.

Residents carried their pets and livestock out the locality. The local Thoraipakkam police offered their help in what was largely a community effort.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:21:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/innovation-in-the-times-of-flooding/article7943017.ece

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