Heavy rains through Friday and overnight exposed the poor drainage in Chennai as residents of several low-lying areas had to be rescued on boats manoeuvred by NDRF personnel who had to wade through in chest-deep water.
Some localities such as Guduvancherry and Mannivakkam were in knee-deep water overnight. The city had barely recovered from a low-pressure weather system that brought heavy rains between November 18 and 20. With many localities still reeling from disruption, the fresh spell brought a new set of problems for residents.
Guduvancherry is a southern Chennai suburb that has witnessed immense residential and commercial development over the last decade, with many IT establishments and ensuing residential development taking place. Similar to the fast-paced construction witnessed by Velachery, a locality of Chennai, Guduvancherry appears to be following a similar trajectory of meteoritic development with infrastructural support playing catch up.
Varadarajapuram, another low-lying new settlement off Chennai’s South-West, witnessed NDRF boats plying along the roads to remove stuck residents. Overnight rains and heavy showers boxed people into their homes, cutting off access to and supply of essentials.
The situation is similar across localities such as Mudichur, Madipakkam, pockets off Tambaram and Selaiyur, and areas in Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram districts. If the water-logging along the suburbs of Chennai is severe, the scenario in its central localities are not any dissimilar.
T Nagar and KK Nagar, the densely populated localities where middle-class families and those a little well-off jostle for space, the heavily flooded roads and parks have brought life to a screeching halt. Across many locations in Chennai, the ominous exit of sewage water onto the roads, and into homes, has wreaked havoc by spreading water-borne diseases. In some localities in KK Nagar, residents have complained of sewage water contaminating their piped water resources, prompting residents to be extra-cautious about the water being used for cooking.
Chennai and other north Tamil Nadu districts would continue to be on Red Alert till the end of November 29, after which the Weather department has predicted normal weather for the city. Issued on Saturday morning, Avadi in Chennai recorded over 20 cm rainfall through Friday, while localities such as Mahabalipuram off South Chennai received 18 cm, indicating a strong pounding for the south, south-western regions off Chennai.
The current spell of rains have forced to state administration to hunker down on the challenge in a holistic manner. Storm water drains and canals have been a matter of heated debate since the massive floods of December 2015, when Chennai’s weather gauges recorded over 100 cm of rainfall through one night. State budgets have allocations for storm water drains almost every year, but the debris-ridden, soggy roadsides after every spell prove there is a lot of work to be done.
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