As water recedes and in parts of Chennai, the biggest challenge now is to prevent an outbreak of diseases

TN update 90 percent of rescue operations done state now turns to relief Nishanth Krish
news Chennai Rains Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 07:53

The worst is over for Chennai and Tamil Nadu as water levels receded on Saturday as people were busy in relief work as food packets, water, milk, blankets and other essentials were distributed around the city.

The Chennai airport has also resumed commercial operation from 6 am on Saturday even as a few trains also started running.

The Indian Express reports that with most of the rescue work over on Saturday, the focus has now shifted to relief operations. According to the state police, almost 90 percent of the rescue operations have been completed and thousands of food packets have been distributed at various shelters and flooded areas.

Areas like Madipakkam, Porur, Saidapet and Eekkattuthangal, West Mambalam (Rangarajapuram, Arya Gowda road), Vadapalani (routes to Koyambedu, Arumbakkam) are still water logged, but the water is receding fast. Many roads in the city are dry and shops are open. Phone connectivity is also back in many areas

According to the Met department, the low pressure area over Bay of Bengal continues to persist but is gradually shifting west.

Skymet reported that heavy to very heavy showers will continue to lash South Coastal Tamil Nadu during the next 24 hours. Cuddalore district might witness torrential showers again on Sunday, while Chennai will continue with light or moderate rain.

The Met department also predicted that areas which were relatively dry yesterday like Coimbatore, Erode and Namakkal will also receive showers today. 

The Hindu reported that a section of Army personnel complained that they were directionless in reaching people who needed them most as local logistical support was not available in full measure. Also, they had to handle requests to rescue relatives of VIPs at the cost of the commoner.

There were also reports of AIADMK party cadres allegedly stopping various people with supplies and sticking posters of chief minister Jayalalithaa before letting them through.

Read - PR exercise by AIADMK backfires, party says impostors forcing posters on relief materials

There was also a press conference held on Saturday, which was the first major briefing since the floods struck. However, even that didn't go too well.

A report in The Hindustan Times adds:

Journalists from across the country, most visiting the state for the first time, watched with some curiosity when four senior ministers, the Chennai mayor, six senior secretaries and as many other IAS officers first walked in...the ministers and officials read from long prepared statements, made even longer by the number of times the name of ‘Amma’ was invoked. 

However, the report also goes on to add that "not a single question was answered directly. Some officials were later seen pleading with national reporters to cut out the embarrassing portions of the press conference. They pleaded that they were under strict orders from the CM not to deviate from the script."

Saturday morning also saw residents of Rangarajapuram near Kodambakkam blocked the roads in anger demanding that the government help them.

Alleging that the government was only helping VIPs, they said that their entire street had been waterlogged for days.

Read: Angry protests on the streets of Chennai as residents left to fend for themselves

As water receded and electricity returned to parts of Chennai, the biggest challenge for the authorities now is to prevent an outbreak of diseases as a lot of water was lying stagnated for days and sewage mixed with the water in many areas.

The death toll has crossed 300 and lakhs of people have been displaced from their homes. Economic activity also took a hit after it was shut down as the estimated loss is around Rs 15,000 crore.

Read: 'I spent 3 days and 2 nights reaching home': blog describes how Chennai survived the rains

Also read: 'Meet Radha, Chennai's milk-lady whose image went viral online'

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