Awake citizens, fire brigade and WFH schedule avert flood casualties as rains battered PuneUpdated: Oct 15, 2020, 19:48 IST
Pune: The alertness shown by residents and administration, learning from last year’s flash floods, helped avert flooding incidents when incessant rains hit the city on Wednesday. Many remained awake throughout the night.
While several roads and areas in the city’s low-lying parts reported waterlogging and power outages with incidents of wall collapse, there were no casualties and large-scale damage to property.
The 2019 flash floods in the city had claimed 266 lives of which seven residents of Tangewala colony in Sahakarnagar were washed away in the strong currents of water as they were asleep.
As most people were at residence due to work from home guidelines in the light of Covid, incidents of vehicles washing away in waters were prevented, civic officials said. During the 2019 flash floods, over 700 vehicles were washed away as people were out.
While the showers began at 2pm, their intensity increased post 6 pm, leading to overflowing nullahs and drainages. According to IMD, the city received 76 mm rainfall just within three hours starting 8:30pm.
Waterlogging was reported from southern and eastern parts of Pune where Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) staff and fire brigade shifted people to safer places.
“With memories of last year’s flash flood still fresh in our mind, residents in our society remained awake throughout the night. As rainfall intensity increased after 6 pm, we asked people residing in buildings adjacent to Ambil Odha to shift to other buildings,” said Deepak Ghadge, resident of Gururaj Housing Society, which was worst hit by last year’s floods.
According to residents, three-four foot deep rainwater entered houses as citizens ran helter-skelter seeking assistance from police, social workers and administration for relief and rescue operations. The areas near Ambil Odha were put in a state of high alert and residents were shifted to nearby areas to prevent the 2019-like situation.
According to fire brigade department head Prashant Ranpise, his office received 35 calls from residents of various areas with complaints of wall collapse, tree falling and water entering houses.
Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol said, “Several areas of the city were flooded and the PMC disaster management and fire brigade teams worked round the clock in Ambil Odha areas and localities which witnessed heavy flooding. Due to the high flow, water entered the parking lots of several housing societies adjacent to the nullah and nearby houses. The rescue work is underway and no case of loss of lives has been reported yet.”
Sinhgad road was closed for vehicular traffic from Vitthalwadi due to waterlogging with waters overflowing at Vishrantinagar chowk, Santosh Hall chowk and Wadgaon bridge.
In the eastern suburbs of Wanowrie and Kondhwa, residents placed barricades at the important junctions of Bhairoba nullah and urged commuters to avoid taking the nullah road.
Dhankavdi-Sahakarnagar ward corporator Ashwini Kadam said, “Roughly over 3 lakh people were affected due to heavy rains and flash floods in the area. The PMC administration had failed to remove encroachments as recommended by the private assessment agency to the civic body. The civic body did not construct the retaining wall, box culverts, clean drainage lines and demolish illegal encroachments. We need financial package and immediate relief for affected residents.”
Shafi Shaikh, a Camp resident said, “It was a scary situation as East Street and MG road too witnessed flooding. We thought it was a repeat of last year, but this time residents were prepared for heavy rains.”
Pune Cantonment Board CEO Amit Kumar said, “The fire brigade officials carried out relief operations in low lying areas. There were no casualties and disaster management team has been deployed to help residents.”