Thirty-seven-year-old Gnana Prakasam, an IT professional living on the ground floor of an apartment in Velachery, is dreading the current rainfall in Chennai. His apartment was previously flooded twice — in the 2015 Chennai floods and during the 2020 Nivar cyclone. If the current rains in Chennai continue, Gnana Prakasam says his house will once again be completely flooded.
In fact, following the incessant rains since Saturday night, November 6, water entered Gnana Prakasam’s house by Sunday morning. “I managed to shift my 55-year-old mother from my apartment to my in-law’s house nearby. I still, however, have my aged father to take care of. The situation is the same for other residents in my apartment. There are many senior citizens residing on the ground floor of Sangath Apartments Phases 1 to 4 in Velachery, whose houses have already been flooded,” says Prakasam.
According to Prakasam, his apartment and other two blocks were constructed in 1999 in a low-lying area, and so they face a serious situation of flooding. Urging the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to help them, Prakasam says that incessant rain on Sunday will further the dire situation in Velachery and low lying areas. “The rain stopped only for two hours on Sunday morning, and it has been continuously raining since then. The power supply, too, had been cut off for the past two hours. The GCC should ensure that any block in stormwater drains is removed to ensure the rainwater flows.”
Several other residents across Chennai also flagging waterlogging and urged the GCC to clear the stormwater drains.
@chennaicorp Lakshmi Nagar Main road at Madipakkam is stagnated with rain and sewage water. The drainage is back flowing..already water has entered our houses. It will have severe impact with more rains in the day. Please look into it as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/DSnUo15419— Koushik R (@cow__shit) November 7, 2021
While people living in apartments are managing with one means or another, those living in cramped spaces, particularly in North Chennai, have given up hope.
“The roof of my house has been leaking since Saturday evening. It was an ordeal for me to ensure my children got proper sleep last night. Though I hoped the rain would stop on Sunday, the situation has become worse. There is no electricity, clean drinking water and the houses here are already flooded,” says Rajeshwari, a mother of two children, living in Pulianthope.
Speaking to TNM, Vishu Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner (Revenue and Finance), GCC, said, “We have converted Corporation community centres and government schools into relief centres. We have set up a total of 169 relief shelters in Chennai. Due to waterlogging and incessant rainfall, over 60 people have been evacuated from MTH road near Padi bridge and St Xavier's street in Zone 5 and have been sheltered at three relief camps.”
The DC added, “The relief camps are ready to accommodate people in case more people have to be evacuated. The food will be facilitated through kitchens arranged in each zone under GCC and Amma Unavagam. The food is being prepared in community centres or wedding halls in the city. The food will be distributed at the relief shelters and directly at affected areas as most people are confined at homes.”