Chennai: Chennai and its neighbouring districts were marooned under a sheet of water on Monday as Michaung, a severe cyclonic storm, triggered overnight rains. With the skies pouring cats and dogs throughout the day, life in the Tamil Nadu capital came to a standstill. The State Government declared holidays for all educational institutions on Monday and Tuesday and urged private companies to offer work-from-home option to their employees.
Visuals of parked cars and vehicles getting washed away by heavy currents of water at several localities, people being evacuated on boats, fallen trees, and life without electricity since Sunday night, revived memories of the historic December 1, 2015 floods, the city had witnessed. The release of surplus water from the city’s reservoirs saw many of the rivers in the city overflowing.
Puducherry witnesses heavy downpour
The neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry too saw heavy rains and cyclonic storms affecting normal life.
Home Minister Amit Shah spoke over the phone to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and Puducherry Chief Minister Rangasamy to get an update on the situation and offered necessary assistance from the centre. Stalin urged the Minister to deploy more personnel from the NDRF for rescue and relief operations. The Army also stepped in to offer rescue operations. Army personnel evacuated to safety several people in low-lying and flooded areas in makeshift fibre boats and other boats.
The Chennai airport suspended flight landing and takeoff operations for most of the day following severe cyclonic winds and waterlogging in the airfield. More than 2,500 passengers were stranded at the airport with some complaining they were not allowed to enter the terminal. Passengers struggled as taxis did not ply normally and made temporary accommodation arrangement on their own.
Southern Railways cancels several long-distance trains
The Southern Railway too terminated most long distance trains bound for Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore Stations and cancelled several of its services. However, it ensured that suburban train services were operated once in a while for the benefit of commuters. The Chennai Metro Rail operated its services largely undisrupted but the trips were fewer.
All industrial estates in Chennai were flooded and the extent of damage caused to machinery would be ascertained only after the rain subsides.
The Greater Chennai Corporation opened relief camps in schools and other places to help those affected by the rains. More than 5,000 workers from other districts were rushed to Chennai by the administration for undertaking relief works.
Video of crocodile on road goes viral
While the rains saw people calling in helplines to remove snakes and other reptiles, what took everyone by surprise was the spotting of a mugger crocodile near Perangulathur, on the outskirts of Chennai. A video of the crocodile casually moving on the road in the midst of a few passing vehicles went viral on social media. Forest Department staff have been deployed to rescue the reptile.