Rains abated in Chennai on Thursday giving relief to people tormented by the heavy downpour and resultant flooding of the last three days. However, excessive discharge of water on Wednesday from Chembarambakkam lake on the outskirts flooded new areas of the city, threatening to uproot people from their homes.
Teams from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), the army, the navy and commandos of police and fire service personnel were deployed for rescue and relief work in the worst-affected areas of Kotturpuram, Jafferkhanpet and Nandanam on the banks of the Adyar river that has been in spate for the last two days.
For the first time in over 40 years, the water has risen rapidly on the river breaching the road and the Maraimalai Adigal bridge in Saidapet cutting the arterial Anna Salai (Mount Road), rendering it out of bounds for motorists.
Though there has been no rain since Wednesday night, the fresh flooding of the streets in the heart of the city in areas like Kodambakkam, T Nagar and Ashok Nagar has been caused by the release of an estimated 30,000 cusecs (about 8,50,000 litres) of water from the Chembarambakkam lake, one of the city’s sources of drinking water. The reservoir has been in spate because of heavy inflow due to rains in the catchment area.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is likely to make an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai and its suburbs and the neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram. Milk and other essentials like vegetables are in short supply. A half-litre packet of milk was being sold at Rs 50 in many areas.
Diesel and petrol are in short supply and there were long queues of motorists at the few petrol pumps that were supplying them.
Over 50,000 people have been rescued from flooded homes in various areas and lodged in relief centres opened by the Chennai Corporation.
The Air Force and Army are said to be rushing in with supplies for the people in distress.