Surviving Chennai floods: I came back to my apartment after 19 days

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | December 22, 2015 | Chennai


Our apartment is seen at the extreme left bottom, surrounded by flood water early this month

The city is struggling to return to normalcy after massive devastation.

Those with means are managing to start from scratch in life, while those lacking sufficient money are fighting to establish one’s home and even to make ends meet.

Most of the offices and schools have reopened. Badly hit by floods, Chennai may  take weeks (hopefully) to come back to normalcy.

After spending 19 days at a friend’s place, where I had taken shelter, I came back home over the last weekend. The locality where I stay was one of the worst affected during floods. There was no power and water supply for days together. It took several days for things to get fixed, right from cleaning of sewage water, freshwater sump, removing garbage and filth.

Now looking back, most of the people in our apartment were fortunate to evacuate well in time. the ground and first floors were completely submerged.

River Adyar, which I used view from my balcony was barely 20 meters wide and 3 feet deep. After incessant rains and excessive water release from Chembarambakkam lake, the river that I saw daily had disappeared. In its place was a sea. The river had so much water that it stretched to 100 meters in width and over 20 feet in depth and submerging the entire neighborhood. The locality was totally cut off from the rest of the city.

Two families in our apartment got stranded with no electricity and no access to water. They were on the third floor.

Rescue teams didn’t reach our apartment for two days. The teams were saying as the water current was high and the boats could not enter the locality. After repeated attempts, a boat came on the third of the floods and rescued the marooned.

People in my neighbourhood and those stranded in my locality said that boats came to the locality to pick up few from our next lane, which is IPS (Indian Police Service) colony with bungalows of serving or retired police officers.

A boat even rescued workers and pet animals stranded in the bungalow of a prominent Congress politician from Tamil Nadu, who is our neighbour. The politician himself was not in the bungalow at the time of the flood but his workers and pets were there, so a boat came especially to rescue them. But the voice of others remained unheard for a long while.  

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