Heavy rains had caused the Uppanaru river to breach, inundating Tsunami Nagar in Cuddalore.

Tree uprooted on a rooftop in Puducherry
news Cyclone Nivar Thursday, November 26, 2020 - 21:46

In 2004, Suburayan and his family of six members ran for their lives when the tsunami struck the coast of Tamil Nadu. They were eventually evacuated by the Tamil Nadu government from their fishing hamlets in Cuddalore and later given homes in the district’s Tsunami Nagar. 

Now, 14 years after relocating to the Tsunami Nagar, residents like Suburayan regret their decision. Suburayan says, “Tsunami affected us only once but every year cyclones throw our lives out of gear for weeks together.”

On Thursday, 800 families belonging to the Tsunami Nagar were cut off from the district after Cyclone Nivar made landfall near Puducherry. With heavy rains battering the region, access to Tsunami Nagar was cut off as the Uppanaru breached and flood waters rose to at least 10 feet in some areas, say residents. 

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday conducted a review of the relief measures undertaken in Cuddalore district. He visited the banana farm in Rettichavadi in Cuddalore, the relief camps in Dhevanampattinam and the old fishing harbor in Cuddalore. He also held a discussion with the district officials.

Most parts of Cuddalore district sailed through the havoc but not Tsunami Nagar. 

Subburayan says, “There is no bridge between our colony and the village. So as soon as the rains started pounding Cuddalore, the water overflows into our area cutting access to nearby villages. We remain stranded for days till the water completely recedes.”

This has been the case every time a cyclone hits Cuddalore district. Uppanaru river is located close to Tsunami Nagar and if the river is in spate, it causes flooding in the area. 

“There is no outlet for the water to drain away from Uppanaru. The river is not desilted to hold the excess water. So every time there is heavy rain, our homes get inundated and we are cut off from the other places,” he narrates.

Subburayan says many residents were forced to starve for an entire day, as they couldn’t prepare food due to the flooding. On Tuesday, we were able to arrange for food only for the children so the rest of the people starved without food, he recounts.

Many also lost electric appliances due to the flooding.“We did not remove our electrical appliances from our home due to the fear of theft and now all our electric appliances are gone,” he says.

“The government should build us a bridge so we are not stranded. Even last time the current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam visited our place and promised that the government will increase the height of the homes and build a bridge but nothing has been done so far,” he said.

 “At least if we reside near the sea, we would not have faced such a disaster year after year. But now, we are forced to experience flooding and losses every year and we cannot even run for safety from this place,” Suburayan says.