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Residents had little inkling of water release from canals

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: Hundreds of residents living in colonies close to the city's waterways were forced to leave their homes on Saturday, as water released from reservoirs and tanks submerged their houses.

Residents had little inkling of the impending discharge as the overnight heavy rain subsided in the morning.

Several houses in colonies came under water adjoining the Virugambakkam Canal and the Adyar and the Cooum rivers.

Water released from reservoirs and tanks in Tiruvallur district and the city's suburbs contributed to most of the damage.

By evening, water was flowing up to the brim on the Maraimalai Adigalar bridge on Anna Salai and the Ekkatuthangal Bridge. Several other causeways were completely cut off.

Chennai Corporation issued a flood warning to residents living in low-level areas in Nesapakkam, M.G.R.Nagar, K.K.Nagar, Saidapet, Kotturpuram, Virugambakkam, Chinmaya Nagar, Periyar Pathai, Mehta Nagar, Aminjikarai, MMDA Colony, Chetpet, Arumbakkam, Egmore and Chintadripet. The civic agency urged the residents to move to its community halls and schools.

Agony of citizens

Several residents, particularly senior citizens and women, living in apartments in Virugambakkam and other low-lying areas had a harrowing time since morning.

Vimala Rao, an office-bearer of the Sai Nagar Women Civic Exnora in Virugambakkam, said water increased to nearly six feet in the morning on 10 streets and submerged hundreds of houses.

"A pregnant woman was stranded in one of the houses and it was only the residents who rushed to her rescue. We cannot understand why the officials are diverting water from tanks and reservoirs into the canal when they were built mainly to carry storm water."

Irate residents took to the streets blocking traffic on the Mogappair Main Road for nearly an hour in morning. They said none of the flood relief measures had reached them despite floodwater entering their homes.

Bank strengthened

The Public Work Department and the Chennai Corporation officials strengthened a portion of the Adyar riverbank along Surya Nagar using sand bags after the residents feared that it might give way.

North Chennai fares better

The Corporation, in a press release issued by afternoon, said it was providing food to more than 1.5 lakh persons in the low-lying areas. It also put in operation 10 mobile health clinics to help the affected persons.

Surprisingly, several parts of North Chennai fared better on Saturday.