The pictures are a terrifying contrast, and a chilling reminder of the havoc flood-waters wrecked in these areas.

Photologue Revisiting spots devastated by the Chennai floods one year later
news Floods Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 10:58

On December 1, 2015, Chennai woke up to fear, darkness, torrential rains and massive flooding all around. Most neighbourhoods in the city were flooded, with those on the banks of rivers completely going under. Over the next couple of days, people lost their homes, their loved ones and some, their own lives. It was one of the worst natural disasters the city has ever seen. It left an indelible mark on the minds of the people, who will remember forever the December Deluge of 2015, and taught them how far the city’s urban infrastructure had worsened. 

Among the worst affected areas in Chennai city was Malligai Poo Nagar in Adyar, just about 500 metres from Adyar River. We revisited some of the spots in the area where some of the best images of the Chennai floods were taken last year by Nishanth Krish for The News Minute. The pictures are a terrifying contrast, and a chilling reminder of the havoc flood-waters wrecked in these areas. There is no water in these areas now, but the fears remain, and the hope that they never have to see another day like that yet again.

(The pictures are in sets of two. Slide to look at the second picture)More than 1200 families live in this area, and most of them work as housekeepers and drivers. After the floods, the Chennai corporation wanted to evacuate the area. Speaking to The News Minute, Deputy Commissioner (works), K S Kandasamy said, “This area is partly encroached by the people and we will be evacuating the place. There has been resistance from the people in the area but we have to do it.”

We spoke to the residents of Malligai Poo Nagar, who accept that flooding is still a concern, but do not want to vacate their houses. 

Vijaylakshmi, 28, employee at Chennai corporation

“When the floods came, we were staying upstairs on the first floor. But we constantly got food and water supplies by different people from surrounding areas. One year later, we are still scared of floods. The corporation has laid new roads, increasing their height, but because of it, the water will come more easily inside. Now, whenever it heavily rains we prefer to stay upstairs.”

Gauri, 34, Domestic help

During the floods, I shifted from my house to my mother’s house next door. I never went back to that house. Everything was lost, from my TV to refrigerator. The whole house was full of drainage water. Now we have tried to build steps or put bricks in front of our houses so that the water does not come inside the house. The government had promised to put a compound wall next to the Adyar river but that has not happened till now.

Suresh Kumar, 35, jewellery shop owner

I had a loss of about Rs. 30,000, the whole shop had drainage stench and the walls and the furniture was completely damaged. After that, I changed everything, got it painted. I have built a cemented area in front of the shop to stop water from entering the shop. 

Vijayrangan, 43, Works in a private company

I have been living here all my life. When the floods came, we were staying upstairs and were scared. But after the floods, the corporation has decided to evacuate us from here. Where else can we go? Most of the people in the area are working as domestic help or drivers in Gandhi Nagar. They are blaming us for staying here.

Sudha, 31, Housewife

When the flood water came inside our houses, we shifted to our neighbours house and were living on the first floor. We had so many things in the house it was just after Deepavali. But everything got spoilt, from food to clothes. After that, our children also had skin infection and vomiting. Now, I have kept all the clothes at a height and we try not to keep anything on the ground. 

Meena, 61, Housewife

My house was full of rainwater. The water came from Gandhinagar. We were asked to go live in the corporation schools. But we preferred to stay on roads for four to five days. We used to get food and water supplies properly. We lost lot all our food items and our TV in the floods. Now we are scared whenever it rains heavily.

(Inputs by Pheba Mathew)

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