Cyclone Michaung | Chennai’s southern areas remain inundated and inaccessible

Even four days after Cyclone Michaung passed the Chennai coast, areas such as Velachery, Perumbakkam, Semmancheri, and Mylapore remain waterlogged, with many residents still stranded. Medavakkam-Sholinganallur Road, an arterial stretch that connects Rajiv Gandhi Salai with several residential and commercial areas, remains inundated due to overflow from waterbodies

Updated - December 08, 2023 03:00 pm IST

Published - December 08, 2023 01:21 am IST - CHENNAI

Residents of Perumbakkam being evacuated using tractors on Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Residents of Perumbakkam being evacuated using tractors on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran

Four days after Cyclone Michaung passed the Chennai coast, several areas in the south and southern western parts of the city are still inundated and residents have limited or no access to essentials.

Medavakkam-Sholinganallur Road, an arterial road connecting Rajiv Gandhi Salai with several residential and commercial areas, remains inaccessible due to several waterbodies overflowing across the road. A private hospital, school, and several residential colonies are being slowly evacuated. The police have cordoned off the road and people are being rescued from homes using earth movers and tractors since other vehicles are unable to move in the deep waters.

In Velachery, areas, including north Ram Nagar, VGP Selva Nagar, Nethaji Colony, and Andal Nagar, are still waterlogged. Highways Minister E.V. Velu handed out drinking water bottles, biscuit packets, bread, and milk.

K. Raghavan, joint state organiser of Seva Bharati, who has been organising rescues using earth movers in Madipakkam, said many streets in the interiors were still inaccessible. “When people see us, they ask us if we can help them in any manner. They have remained out of reach,” he said.  

Some residents of Semmancheri and Perumbakkam staged a protest on Thursday demanding immediate rescue and relief. They claimed that no Ministers or MLAs had visited their locality as yet. “Our area is flooded despite the construction of a macro-canal for over a year. Many interior roads are flooded and children and elders continue to walk in stagnant waters. A little further along, the water has a green layer on top,” said Sri Karthik, a resident of Semmancheri.

At VGP layout off East Coast Road, houses on two main roads are flooded, and water is being pumped out by the Greater Chennai Corporation. “Many houses are flooded up to the first floor and have been heavily damaged. The civic body has also dug up a large trench to the beach that carried most of the water in the morning,” a resident said.

In the southwest, residents of Bell Nagar, Manapakkam, and the neighbouring Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Mugalivakkam wade through 3 feet of water to buy supplies. When The Hindu visited the area on Thursday, rainwater near Chaitanya School and Thiruvallur Park in Mugalivakkam was more than waist level.

While electricity has been restored in some houses, many continue to manage without power. Manapakkam resident Hari Senthilrajan, claimed that the stormwater drains had been built unevenly leading to reverse flow. An illegally constructed compound wall blocked a canal leading to the Adyar also exacerbated the flooding, he added.

Usharani Pandian, councillor of Manapakkam ward 157, said water bottles and milk packets were being distributed every day. The water has to drain naturally when the surrounding lakes stop flowing onto here, she added. Residents, however, said as the area was low-lying, the water would not drain naturally and demanded that the government take steps to pump out the water.

In Pozhichalur, a locality near the airport, most interior streets are motorable. Gajendra Kumar, a resident of Agatheeswarwar Nagar said an open ground, which belonged to the Agatheeswarwar temple that is filled with garbage was now full of rainwater and posed health risks to nearby houses.

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