THE fifth largest city in the country and the majestic capital of Tamil Nadu was left in tatters by the torrential rains across the state for the past one month. The city of Chennai was almost submerged by the recent monsoon rains which had teared apart the wonderful city along the coromandel coast of Bay of Bengal. The city is used to receive around 1541mm of rainfall every year but this time, it is endowed with around 1640mm of rainfall in the past 4 months alone. This has lead to the inflow of 31,000 cusecs of water to the Chembarambakkam reservoir (which is the largest in the city) to discharge 29,000 cusecs outflow of water leading to flooding in almost all areas around the city. With the flood waters rushing in from the lakes surrounding the city, people were made to vacate their homes to seek shelter at higher grounds. In the most affected areas surrounding the lakes, people were rescued from their houses through paddles and rafts.
The fishermen in the region offered help to the people by lending their boats to rescue the people from their flooded house holds. The Army, Navy and the National Disaster Response Force were soon deployed in the city and were on to their work in a flash. Around fifty lakhs of people were displaced from their homes and made to reside in temporary relief camps bordering the city. The Chennai International Airport was shut down for 5 days due to the heavy rains and the airport runway was completely flooded by rain water. The entire electricity supply of the city was cut and people were left with candles alone to shade away their nights. Vehicles were stranded along the roads in long queues and the poor drainage system also worried the Chennaites much. The sewage mixed with the flood water and was seen logging across the streets and houses through out the city. A couple of bridges collapsed in the interior parts of the city and around 357 people had lost their lives so far with many left injured and homeless.
The high profile millionaires living along the Boat club road and the East Coast Road had none other choice but to stay at relief camps and pray for the rain gods to show them some mercy. The jaguars and porsches which used to whiz past the roads were now floating in sewage along the roads. Even though the state government was slow to react to this disaster, the people of Tamil Nadu had united to help their fellow Tamilans by sending them relief materials. Help was on its way from almost every corner of Tamil Nadu with a large number of students and members of many Non Governmental Organizations to lend their hands to those who were in dire situations drowning in the floods. This incident was a bolt from the blue for the people of Chennai as they had never expected such severe damage to lives and property. This dreadful disaster caused by the monsoon rains will leave a mark in the minds of the Chennai people for the years to come. This has been regarded as the worst which affected Chennai since the 2004 Tsunami which struck off the coast of Bay of Bengal. Though devastated by this ruthless carnage of the monsoon winds, Chennaites would never lose their hope of going back to normality because it is their “Way of Life”.