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Chennaiites come together to help citizens stranded in rains

Chennaiites pitched in with relief efforts during the torrential rains. People turned to social media to mobilize rescue efforts. Many people distributed food and blankets to those affected by the rain, in their localities

Chennaiites come together to help citizens stranded in rains
Foods being packed for flood victims at a Gurudwara


Welcoming strangers 

From December 1 onwards, social media was filled with Chennaiites offering to accommodate those who were stranded, as many parts of the city were inaccessible. It was not only the residents from different parts of the city but also educational institutions, organisations, cinema halls and malls, who opened their doors to those stranded in the rain. In addition to this, a few social media users also offered to recharge phones, for those who are unable to get out of their homes. Chennaiites offered to pick up people from railway stations and bus stops and drop them home. 

Mobilizing relief materials

Sujith Kumar, Founder of Maatram Foundation, who, along with his team, are sending out food packets and relief materials to flooded areas, says, “This floods exactly demonstrates the resilient spirit of Chennaites. From small restaurants to mosques and other religious places, people opened up their hearts and did what’s possible. Youngsters have been seen in large numbers volunteering which is great.”

Many residents are also collecting essentials like food, milk, drinking water and blankets to distribute to those who are stranded in areas like Mudichur and Tambaram. Deepa Aathreya, a resident of Adyar, says, “We are in touch with people running rescue operations in these rain-affected areas. We are trying to get together relief supplies and send it out to them. Individuals and corporations have come forward and donated blankets and packaged food. We have sent out aid to areas like Kotturpuram, OMR, ECR, Mudichur and Tambaram.” Mohnish Raheja, a city-based model, adds, “We are collecting dry foods like biscuits, cakes and others which can last for a while as well as clothes.”

Communities pitch in

On December 2, close to 300 people from the Sikh community were busy preparing fresh food at the Gurudwara in GN Chetty Road. Prabsharan Singh, one of the volunteers, says, “The entire community came together to provide fresh food and clothes to those affected by the rains. Close to 5,000 packets of food were sent out to NGOs, schools and badly affected areas like Madipakkam and Arapakkam.” The Jain community too set up a kitchen, sending out close to 15,000 packets of hot food to areas like Manali, Vyasarpadi, T Nagar, Anna Nagar, Purusaiwalkam and many more, says a volunteer. Mosques across the city were providing food and shelter to those in need. 

Restaurants too offered coffee and sandwiches to those stranded on the roads. Yousuf Meeran, an entrepreneur who runs a restaurant in R.K Salai, was sending out food to those affected. “Many people were short of food, due to lack of electricity and we received requests from apartments and organisations,” he says.

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