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Cyclone Michaung: Battered city gasps for breath

Despite the civic body using motor pumps to drain out the stagnated rainwater to prevent flooding, the continuous intense spells hampered the process.

Cyclone Michaung: Battered city gasps for breath

Ayanavaram Traffic Police officials clearing debris on road in ICF (Photo: Hemanathan)

CHENNAI: Heavy rain battered various parts of the city and suburbs which led to flooding in many areas including residential areas and hospitals due to the cyclone Michaung.

Despite the civic body using motor pumps to drain out the stagnated rainwater to prevent flooding, the continuous intense spells and widespread water logging on the road hampered the process.

Many areas in the city including Kolathur, Tondiarpet, Ashok Nagar, Ekkatuthangal, Velachery, Perungudi, Kodambakkam, Mylapore, Kolapakkam, Valasaravakkam, Egmore, Madipakkam, Vepery, and Madhavaram witnessed more than kneedeep water stagnation during the downpour on Sunday. At least 11 subways were closed and the civic body is expected to drain out the water by Tuesday morning.

“The entire street is knee-deep waterlogged due to heavy rains. People were unable to come out and no corporate officials inspected the place or evacuated residents from the area. The level of rainwater stagnated on the road continues to increase,” said Jai Shankar, a resident of Rettai Kuzhi street at Old Washermenpet.

The motorists found it difficult to commute and the ambulances failed to their destinations on time. However, the rainwater on many bus route roads in North Chennai drained quickly because of the recently constructed stormwater drains.

“In the 2015 floods, it took about six months for the situation to be back to normal. The scenario has not changed all these years and the entire street is flooded even for a day of rain. However, this year the situation is even worse. The area is inundated, and water has entered almost all the houses. We are unable to take our vehicles as it is not working due to the rain. These could be avoided if there are steps taken by the government before the monsoon,” said U Ilakiya, a resident of Madipakkam.

Similarly, the residents of Ambattur complained that the manholes in the area started to overflow due to the clogged drains. The residents stated that the sewage overflows and stagnates the entire street even during the mild showers and people are unable to step out.

The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has provided food to over 3 lakh people in the city, and 408 people have accumulated in relief centres. As many as 1,174 food packages are distributed in relief centres and 77,800 food packets are distributed in affected.

“As the existing motor pumps are not functional, the civic body has planned to set up additional motor pumps to drain out the stagnated rainwater,” said Municipal Administration Minister KN Nehru.

The Chennai Corporation Commissioner J Radhakrishnan said, “There are several challenges across the city due to intense spells, particularly the stagnated rainwater is unable to flow through the SWDs as the water bodies have reached its maximum level and the water gets reversed and leads to the flooding situation. We hope the situation will improve when the rainfall decreases.”

Water discharge level likely to increase: WRD

The Water Resources Department (WRD) increased the water discharge level from the city reservoirs on Monday due to intense spells. The water level in the catchment area of the dams is 98 per cent as the inflow continues.

The official stated that if the water level surges further, the outflow is expected to increase.

Poondi reservoir, one of the major reservoirs in the city, has released 17,000 cusecs of water. The district administration has issued a warning to the residents staying in the low-lying areas near Kosasthalaiyar River.

At least 8,000 cusecs of water were released from Chembarambakkam Lake at 5 pm on Monday.

The present water storage of the reservoir is 3,228 cusecs against its normal level of 3,645 cusecs.

The district collector has issued a flood warning to the people in the low-lying areas along the banks of the Adyar River such as Sirukalathur Kavanur, Kundradthur Wayampedu, Tiruneermalai, and Adyar River near the Chembarambakkam Lake.

2,562 cusecs of water have been discharged from Cholavaram reservoir after receiving 4,506 cusecs of water inflow in the catchment area. 2,189 cusecs of water were released from Red Hills.

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