One hundred hearing-impaired children stuck in school with nothing to eat; an SOS from a Chennai Hospital: no food, water, power or medical care; no power in IIT Madras since last evening, campus completely flooded; 50 trains cancelled; 4000 passengers stuck at the airport; newspapers cancelling their print edition.
All of this is indicative of the scale of a natural calamity hard to deal with, and that is what the state of Tamil Nadu is battling in the face of record-breaking unprecedented rains that have thrown the lives of its people thoroughly out of gear.
Thousands of people are being evacuated from submerged areas in pockets of Chennai and most places in and around the suburban West Tambaram.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has further added to the agony by announcing that the worst spell of this rainfall would continue till tomorrow and there would be decrease in the intensity of rainfall thereafter. Moderate rainfall would continue to take place for the next one week in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Water has entered inside houses in the low-lying areas of Anna Nagar and water has jammed almost every part of the city.
The people are stuck and stranded in the cities because of complete cut-off of roadways, railways and airways.
Bus services on the arterial GST Road via suburban Tambaram connecting Chennai with the South is kept to a bare minimum. In the last 24 hours, Tambaram recorded a whopping 49 centimetre rain. Chennai city had a spatial variation in the downpour which was 29 cm at Nungambakkam and 35 cm at airport.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju has ruled out resumption of air services to Chennai till tomorrow morning.
The Chennai airport is water logged and the runway is submerged under the depth of the rising water level. All flights have been cancelled till 6 am tomorrow. Around 4,000 passengers are caught in the airport with arrangements being made to provide food and water to them, with evacuation a failed option.
Heavy rains and water overflowing above the danger level at Railway Bridges in Chennai-Gudur section has impacted the functioning of trains following which the South Central Railway (SCR) has cancelled 12 trains and assured full refunds of fare for the same.
The SCR has set up the following Help Line Numbers at various major stations to provide information to the passengers and minimise inconvenience.
The unprecedented floods have led to the cancellation of 12 trains. The SCR have listed the cancelled trains and requested the passengers to check the schedules of their trains traversing through Chennai before undertaking journey to avoid inconvenience.
In order to clear extra rush of passengers, the SCR has started eighteen Suvidha weekly special trains between Sambalpur and Yesvantpur.
With efforts being made to make the times easier for the people of Tamil Nadu, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also played his bit by announcing that State-owned BSNL will not charge users for calls for a week and services will not be disconnected for non-payment of dues till month end.
As a precautionary measure, power supply was suspended.
The Armed forces of the nation have always stayed on the forefront whenever any havoc hit the country. The Tamil Nadu floods were no exception. The Army, Navy, NDRF readily step up rescue efforts.
The Indian Navy has deployed three flood relief teams today for the flood relief.
Shelter for housing 100 needy people has been kept ready at INS Adyar and medical team has been kept on standby for deputing at short notice.
INS Airavat ex-Vishakhapatnam is being rushed to Chennai with relief material.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been launched for assessment of situation in the area. The Navy has also launched a helpline – 044-25394240, which is being manned 24×7.
Two columns of army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu Government sought military assistance.
The rescue teams have rescued and brought over 50 marooned civilians to safety in Gudvancheri and Mudichur.
The NDRF is airlifting another 15 teams to the rain-battered state.
The coast guard has deployed three Gemini inflatable boats along with 17 members rescue team to the Saidapet Police Station last night.
All Indian Coast Guard units have been kept on high alert for augmenting rescue and relief efforts.
The headquarters coast guard region east is closely monitoring the situation and will provide all available assistance in rescue operations.
All fishermen have been alerted not to venture into the sea since November 30. Coast Guard ship Sarang is already deployed at sea for providing immediate assistance to stranded fishing boats.
The non-stop torrential rains pounding the city since last night showed some let up in the morning but the inundated streets left commuters stranded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa last evening and assured all help from the Centre.
Prime Minister Modi has issued directions to deployed central team to Chennai to assess the situation and make a report so that every possible help can be provided.
He also met senior cabinet ministers, including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu, and reportedly discussed emergency measures to be taken to assist the government in rain-ravaged Tamil Nadu.
Natural disasters have often brought to light social disasters. This stood true when the political arena stood divided at the time of misery.
Some took to pointing fingers at the Centre, while some others offered their help.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) on the other hand urged the Centre to extend adequate financial support to the rain-hit Tamil Nadu, and asked Prime Minister Modi to visit the rain-hit Chennai and the affected districts.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had sought Rs. 2,000 crore for flood relief work. The Centre released a financial aid of Rs. 939.63 crore.
As part of the relief operation, several helpline numbers have been set up.
The Chennai Corporation has announced emergency contact numbers for all the regional zones in the city. People can contact the following numbers in case of any emergency due to the floods.
Emergency Toll Free Number: 1910, State Emergency: 1070, District Emergency: 1077, Electricity:1912, Fire & Rescue: 101, Ambulance: 108, Tree fall, waterlogging – 1913, Sewage overflow – 45674567, 22200335
Helpline Numbers: Tiruvottiyur : 09445190001,
Flood Control Room: 28593990, 044-28410577, 9445869843/47.