Chennai picks up pieces, IMD warns of more rain – Hindustan Times

Chennai News

The skies were clear in Chennai but the spoils of the mayhem caused by heavy rainfall over the past week were visible on the streets as workers from various government departments fanned out to drain out water, remove fallen trees, clear blocked roads, and help restore normalcy.

This relief, however, may be short-lived as another low pressure is likely to form in Bay of Bengal early next week, weather scientists warned.

With three more rain-related deaths in Chennai, Sivaganga and Nilgiris on Friday, the toll went up to 18, minister for revenue and disaster relief, KSSR Ramachandran told reporters.

“By tomorrow Chennai will be made alright,” the minister said.

The city has been battered by two heavy spells of rains since last Saturday. Chennai recorded 210 mm of rain overnight between November 6 and 7, and on November 12, the average rainfall in the city was 60.6mm over a 24-hour period.

Almost all districts in Tamil Nadu have received heavy rainfall and four districts got extreme rainfall from November 7 to 12, Balachandran, head of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, told reporters on Friday.

“Chennai has recorded 46cm (460mm) rainfall, which is five times the average we receive during this period which is about 8 cm,” the RMC head said. From October 1, when the north east monsoon began up to November 12, Chennai has received 81 cm rainfall, while the average is 44 cm.”This is 85% excess,” he added.

Even as the city got a breather on Friday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast another low pressure area forming over the South Andaman sea on Saturday. “In the next two days, Chennai and adjoining areas are likely to see thunderstorms with light and moderate rain in some areas,” said Balachandran.

Over the last six days, at least 17,654 Chennai residents called the Greater Chennai Corporation helplines with complaints. Residential areas such as T Nagar, West Mambalam, Madhavaram, and Pattalam were still inundated in deep water, officials said, and 620 motor pumps were used on Friday morning. Authorities in the corporation said that 534 locations in the city were waterlogged, of which they were able to clear 204 by 4pm.

Families from low lying areas — a total of 2,888 people including 464 children — are housed in 44 relief camps in Chennai.

“Our situation hasn’t improved. We still can’t step out and there is no power but water is slowly receding,” said M Ramesh, a resident of Velachery, one of the worst affected low-lying areas in Chennai.

The crisis underlined that only temporary patchwork was done after the 2015 tragedy, and no permanent solutions – removing encroachments on flood plains, stopping the dumping of fly ash, municipal waste and industrial effluents on river basins and unclogging decades-old storm water drains – were undertaken.

Disaster relief minister Ramachandran blamed the previous AIADMK government for failing to carry out flood mitigation work. “In the previous regime, water was everywhere — in lakes and on roads,” he said. “The same officials are working now but our CM has the capacity to make them work rapidly for relief and rescue.”

On Friday, chief minister MK Stalin inspected flood-affected localities in Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts. Stalin tweeted that he opened a medical camp for the monsoon season-related ailments. “Similarly 200 such medical camps will be started in Chennai,” he tweeted.

He also handed over an appreciation certificate to police inspector E Rajeswari, whose videos went viral on social media on Thursday after she carried an unconscious man and saving him from drowning.

Opposition AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and former chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami also distributed relief to flood-affected people in Chennai.

Palaniswami defended his party’s regime by recalling that the Union government gave awards to Tamil Nadu for its governance record. “That’s how well we did!” Palaniswami said.