Social media became a rallying point as food and shelter was offered to help stranded people

Chennai braves through night of heavy rains and here is how people helped each otherFile photo
news Chennai Rains Wednesday, December 02, 2015 - 08:01

Rain wreaked havoc in Chennai through Tuesday night as the airport remained shut and the entire city was brought to a standstill.

The Met department on Tuesday said that the rains will be there in Chennai till the end of this week and that about 40% of the places along the coast were expected to get heavy rains on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

However, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has now forecast 'rain' and not 'heavy rain' for the districts of the state on Wednesday.

According to Tamil Nadu weather blogger, Chennai city (Nungambakkam) has broken the wettest ever December day rainfall record of 261.6 mm recorded on 10th December, 1901. Till midnight on Dec 1st, Chennai received about 260mm of rainfall.

The Hindu reported that heavy rain in the catchment areas of the Chembarambakkam reservoir (25 centimetres between 8 30 am and 5 30 pm on Tuesday) forced the authorities to discharge water at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second into the Adyar river. The Chennai Collector issued a flood warning, asking people living along the river to move to safer places.

Many trains were also cancelled owing to the rail tracks being submerged between Tambaram and Villupuram and between Arakkonam, Chennai Central and the beach. All educational institutions and offices remained closed.

Newspapers like The Hindu also cancelled circulation on Wednesday owing to the rains. “Print editions of The Hindu dated December 2, 2015, in Chennai, Vellore, Puducherry and Tirupati have been cancelled after taking into consideration the safety of those in the distribution network,” the paper said in a statement.

The Times of India reported that two columns of the Army's Garrison Infantry Battalion were pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the state government sought military assistance. The Navy is also on stand-by. Many lakes at Guduvanchery, Urapakkam, Perungalathur, Padappai, Mannivakkam and Adhanur breached their banks and flooded residential areas in the southern suburbs, mainly west Tambaram. 

Several roads and bridges in the city have been closed and vehicular traffic has been restricted. Saidapet and Eekadduthangal bridges have been closed along with the 100 feet road through Ashok Nagar.

The NDRF has also deployed 96 boats to rescue stranded citizens.

With the city coming to a standstill, social media became a rallying point for the citizens of Chennai, with most of them offering food, shelter and accommodation for the ones stuck in the rain.

Pages on Facebook like Chennai Rain Relief 2015 - CRR also put a form where people could ask for help or offer help. The page also offered constant updates on the situation.

An effort to crowd source places to stay was also put together in a spreadsheet, where so people could fill details of the places where they could provide food and shelter along with a contact number.

Many establishments like Sathyam Cinemas in Royapettah, Phoenix Malls in Velachery and colleges like SRM in Kattankulathur and Crescent College in Vandalur have also opened up to let people seek shelter if needed.

Meanwhile, people from other cities like Bangalore and Mumbai have taken to social media to offer phone recharges for people who are stranded and in need of call balance.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has reviewed the situation and deputed ministers to inspect the affected regions. She also said that police, fire and rescue, national and state disaster forces and Coast Guard were on stand-by for need-based evacuations.

Read - Emergency numbers and a quick guide to being better prepared for the Tamil Nadu rains

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