Friday, November 12: The month of November brought with it intense rains to Tamil Nadu and its neighbouring states in South Peninsular India. Chennai, the state capital, bore the brunt of the system—which formed in the Bay of Bengal, intensified into a depression, and headed over to the Indian mainland, all the while causing torrential rains that drenched the city all week.
On Saturday, November 6, Chennai experienced the heaviest single-day rain since the devastating floods of 2015, as it accumulated a total precipitation of 230 mm.
The heavy downpours that followed since resulted in extreme water-logging—as many as 523 locations were inundated as of Thursday, and several regions experienced power shutdowns. An estimated 14 people have been killed due to rainfall-related accidents, and schools and colleges have been shut down in Chennai and eight other districts of Tamil Nadu.
Several netizens have pointed out that the chaos caused in Chennai this time around is reminiscent of the floods that ravaged the city back in 2015.
Six years ago, heavy rains driven by the northeast monsoon winds resulted in unprecedented floods across Chennai. Life came to a halt as a result of these floods—described by many as the worst in a century—leaving thousands of people homeless, defenceless and dependent on the kindness of strangers. The floods claimed more than 500 lives and wreaked property damage worth at least ₹199 billion.
In comparison, the current situation in Chennai is not nearly as bad as the flooding from half-a-decade ago, but it still has people wading through knee-high water to get from point A to point B. It also highlights the poor state of Chennai’s disaster management.
In a bid to manage the situation, local authorities are working to drain flooded areas, while the army and the NDRF have been called in to assist rescue efforts.
The Madras High Court has also questioned the Greater Chennai Corporation on the city’s waterlogging condition, asking them what they have been doing since the 2015 floods.
“For half of the year we are made to cry for water and for another half we are made to die in water,” the Madras high court said on Tuesday, berating the Greater Chennai Corporation for its failure to take the necessary measures to prevent inundation in the city during rain. The court has further threatened to file suo motu proceedings unless the situation isn’t brought under control.
Meanwhile, the red alert that had been issued over Chennai due to the likelihood of extremely heavy rainfall has since been removed by the IMD, as the depression has now weakened into a low-pressure area and currently lies over the north interior parts of the state.
While the rains in Chennai are more subdued today, the IMD expects heavy showers to continue at isolated places across Tamil Nadu, Karaikal & Puducherry, and South interior Karnataka for the next five days, and over south Odisha, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, and Rayalaseema during the next 48 hours.
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