No relief: Rains to batter Chennai for seven days

IMD officials claim the city has experienced 89% more than normal rainfall this season, its worst ever downpour in the last 100 years; next 48 hrs crucial

New Delhi: Rains will continue to batter Tamil Nadu for the next seven days and the next 48 hours are ‘very crucial’, officials from India Meteorological Department (IMD) said yesterday.


Dead end? People gather as floodwaters lap at the end of a highway in Chennai. pics/pti

The city turned into a virtual island, while several coastal areas of Tamil Nadu were marooned by floodwaters after unprecedented rains in 100 years pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts destroying crucial road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless.

IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore attributed the heavy rains to a ‘trough of low’ over Southwest Bay of Bengal off Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka coast, which will continue to bring rains over the next three days. Thereafter, the state will experience an anti-cyclone activity that will be associated with ‘heavy rains’ at some places.

A family wades through water to reach higher grounds for safetyA family wades through water to reach higher grounds for safety

"The phenomenon will continue for the next seven days, but the next 48 hours are very crucial. Neighbouring states will also see rainfall activity," Rathore said.

He added that the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi chaired a high-level meeting with the ‘stake holders’, including officials of National Disaster Management Authority, which was attended by Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary through a videoconference. The IMD also briefed about the weather forecast. A warning has also been issued for coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh (especially Nellore and Chittoor), interior Tamil Nadu and Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh.

The period from October to December is referred to as the northeast monsoon season over peninsular India. It is a major period of rainfall activity over the southern peninsula, particularly Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

For Tamil Nadu this is the main rainy season accounting for about 48 per cent of the annual rainfall. Coastal districts of the state get nearly 60 per cent of the annual rainfall and the interior districts about 40-50 per cent of the precipitation. However, this season, Tamil Nadu alone has witnessed 50 per cent excess rainfall by December 1. "Almost all districts of Tamil Nadu have received excess rainfall ranging from 10 to 150 per cent," Rathore said.

In excess
As per IMD data, Chennai has experienced 89 per cent more than normal rainfall this season, while the districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Vellore and Tirunveliveli received 154 per cent, 139 per cent, 136 per cent and 110 per cent have excess precipitation, respectively, so far.

Helplines

Emergency Toll Free Number: 1910
State Emergency: 1070
District Emergency: 1077
Electricity:1912
Fire & Rescue: 101
Ambulance: 108
Tree fall & waterlogging: 1913
Sewage overflow: 45674567, 22200335

Infrastructure crippled
23 trains cancelled, 11 diverted   
The Indian Railways cancelled as many as 23 trains due incessant rains in Chennai. Railways’ Public Relations Officer Anil Saxena yesterday said, “We are taking measures to provide drinking water and other basic facilities to the passengers stranded.” He added the trains were being diverted to nearest bigger junctions as two major divisions of Chennai had stopped operating.

1,500 stranded fliers being evacuated
As many as 3,500 people, including 1,500 passengers, were stranded yesterday at the Chennai international airport, which has been closed for operations till today following flooding of the runway. A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) has been issued by AAI to all air operators with regard to suspension of flight operations till December 6.

Vandalur Zoo compound wall breaches secured  
The parts of the compound wall that fell down due to heavy rain at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, popularly known as Vandalur Zoo, near here have been safely secured and all the animals are safe, a top official said. The zoo claimed that none of the animal enclosures were damaged and the animals were being fed properly.

Help at hand
PM promises relief to Tamil Nadu
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday took stock of the flood situation in Tamil Nadu and discussed it with his cabinet colleagues, including the Home and Finance Ministers. Modi also spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and assured her of all possible support.

Telecom companies offer free talktime
Telecom companies such as BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone, RCom and Aircel are offering free talktime to their customers in the city that is witnessing the heaviest rainfall seen in close to a century.  As of September 30, Tamil Nadu (which includes Chennai region) had 82.06 million telephone subscribers.

Free week-long BSNL mobile usage: Prasad  
Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there won’t be any charges on BSNL mobile usage for a week. “For a week from today, there won’t be any charges on BSNL mobile usage. The automatic system of disconnection in the event of no-payment has also been put on hold until further orders,” he added.

Relief operations

NDRF teams fly to the rescue  
New Delhi: As National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams took off for flood-hit Tamil Nadu from the Palam airport last evening, with relief materials, the India Air Force (IAF) said a C-17 has already gone from Chandigarh with three NDRF teams, while a C-113 took off from Palam.

Indian Navy deploys choppers, remotely- piloted aircrafts
Chennai: The Indian Navy deployed helicopters and remotely-piloted aircraft that would be functional as the weather permitted. Naval Officer in-charge of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu Alok Bhatnagar said,“The Indian Navy has two air bases in Tamil Nadu — INS Rajali and INS Parundu — which are on high alert.”

Declare Chennai Flood ‘national disaster’: DMK urges Centre
New Delhi: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi yesterday urged the Centre to send another high-level delegation to assess the situation, while demanding the flood to be declared as ‘national disaster’. “The situation is very bad in Tamil Nadu. Some of the areas are completely submerged. The Centre should declare it a national disaster,” Kanimozhi added.

Rs 933 cr Relief amount sanctioned by the Centre

197 No of lives claimed by the  rains and floods

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