On Thursday, PM Modi flew to Chennai to take stock of the situation and did an aerial survey of some of the worst hit areas. After his survey, PM Modi announced the immediate release of Rs 1000 crore to carry out relief work in the state. In his statement, the PM said that the 1000 crore will be over and above the Rs 940 crore given by the Centre, earlier.
Chennai received 49 cm of rain on Wednesday and the water levels are said now said to have receded slightly after they steadily rose on Thursday morning.
Several lakes in and around the city, are said to be flowing dangerously above the recommended levels, raising more fears of further submerging the low-lying areas in the city. The Chembarambakkam lake on the outskirts of Chennai is already said to have flooded some new areas like Kodambakkam, T Nagar and Ashok Nagar.
Several teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Army, Navy and commandos of police and fire service personnel have been deployed for rescue and relief work in the worst-affected areas like Kotturpuram, Jafferkhanpet and Nandanam on the banks of the Adyar river.
For the first time in over 40 years, the water of the Adyar river has risen to breach the Maraimalai Adigal bridge and the arterial road Anna Salai.
The IAF too has been pressed into service and is scheduled to evacuate stranded passengers at the Chennai airport, which has now been declared shut until the 6th of December.
It is estimated that over 50,000 people have been rescued from flooded homes in various areas and lodged in relief centres opened by the Chennai Corporation.
Milk and other essentials like vegetables are in short supply. Reports say that a half-litre packet of milk was being sold at Rs.50 in many areas. Even diesel and petrol were being sold at inflated prices because of a shortage in supply.
Hundreds of people are said to be taking shelter at railway stations for the past few days.
“Our train was from Chennai Central but we couldn’t go there as we couldn’t cross the bridge, so we had to come here to seek shelter. My phone network is not working, I and my friend will be forced to stay the night here, what option do we have,” said a Pranjali, a student stranded at the Tambaram station.
The state administration has already declared a holiday for a month and it has urged the private sector to keep their offices closed at least for the next 2 days.
In Delhi, a meeting of the Crisis Management Group was held on Thursday morning. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi met with officials of Ministries of Defence, Food, Railways, Agriculture, Health, Department of Telecommunication, NDMA, IMD and NDRF.
“We have 30 teams, each having 40 members, working in these areas now and we plan to concentrate in the areas of south Chennai which are the worst affected. The meeting took stock of the preparedness of various agencies,” NDRF Chief OP Singh said after the meeting held at North Block.
The Home Minister too raised the “alarming” issue in the Parliament.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that Chennai has become an island as it has been cut off from all national and state highways,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Lok Sabha, responding to a discussion on the flood situation in Tamil Nadu, Pudducherry and Andhra Pradesh.
The torrential rains, the worst in the last 100 years have been lashing Tamil Nadu for the past few days. The death toll, according to the Home Minister stands at 269, but this figure is likely to rise.
(With inputs from PTI)