Army, Navy out in Chennai amid heavy rain; inundated airport shut down


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Non-stop torrential rains since Monday night pounded several parts of Chennai and north Tamil Nadu triggering a deluge completely disrupting normal life as army was deployed tonight in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing.

The government issued a flood alert to people living on the banks of river Adyar in Chennai, even as several lakes and tanks overflowed in the city and the neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. Two columns of army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion were pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu government sought military assistance. Navy personnel were deployed in Sadiapet area of Chennai to rescue people marooned in low-lying areas.

Cuddalore, where the maximum number of people died during the last spell of rain, continued to receive the maximum rainfall, with 16 cm as recorded at 8.30am on Tuesday, followed by Puducherry with 15 cm.

Several suburban train services in Chennai were crippled, while the Tiruvallur-Chennai suburban trains and Gummidipoondi -Chennai suburban trains were running behind schedule. Trains out of Chennai too were delayed inordinately. Several flights out of Chennai were cancelled and many were diverted. The airport was crowded with hundreds of passengers due to the rescheduling and cancellation of flights. Rainwater flooded the runway, making landing and taking off difficult. The airport was temporarily shut down till 6am, airport officials said.

The Adyar river was facing a flood threat as water from the Chembarapakkam lake was let out. Authorities issued a threat warning to those living on either side of the river. In Saidapet area along the river, 2,000 huts were submerged.

“I have ordered officials to take precautionary measures before releasing surplus waters from reservoirs and evacuate people living in low-lying areas,” chief minister Jayalalithaa said.

As the death toll in rain-related incidents touched 188, Jayalalithaaa reviewed the situation and deputed ministers to inspect the affected regions. She announced that police, fire and rescue, National and State Disaster Forces and Coast Guard have been kept ready for need-based evacuation of people from flood-hit regions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Jayalalithaa and assured full support from the Centre. “Spoke to Jayalalithaa ji on the flood situation in parts of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible support & cooperation in this unfortunate hour,” he tweeted.

The Prime Minister had earlier okayed the release of financial assistance of nearly Rs 940 crore after the last spell of rain had brought the state to a standstill.

Meanwhile, Puducherry chief minister N Rangasamy has sought immediate interim financial assistance of Rs 100 crore from the Centre for relief work.

Tamil Nadu government has set up three helpline numbers : 1077, 1913 and 044-4567 4567.

Badly hit areas in Chennai

Tambaram – southern suburb

Chrompet – southern suburb

Velachery – south

Perumbakkam – south

Saidapet – south

Taramani – south

Kotturpuram – south

Madipakkam – south east

Maduravoil – north

Perambur – north

Online Source

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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