(Photo credit: Blue Cross of India. All rights reserved)
If anybody doubts Nature’s fury, come to Chennai, India. I don’t know if this is Climate Change, but I have never seen such extreme weather.
The rainfall from Nov I to 30 this year was 1255.7mm, as against a normal of 407.4mm. That means over 3 times the normal rainfall in one month. Yesterday was a particularly bad day, with 64.1mm in one day; 120mm on December 1 and 2 till 3pm. The sluice gates of Chembarabakkam lake were opened and the waters were let into the Adyar river, and have entered the city. It was a frightening sight to see the waters bearing down TTK Road, where we live, at about 10-15 kilometres per hour. The last one month has been hell, and yesterday was the worst. Eldams road is under water, with cars floating around.
Our campus and garden are under water. The ground floor of the old house is flooded. Water has entered the ground floor of my son Prashanth’s house and the entrance foyer on both sides of our home. Parts of the city are totally under water – bridges, roads, buildings and hospitals – while cars and 2 wheelers are floating around the city! Boats are the common mode of transport. We probably have more water than Venice. My husband Chinny’s factory and Guindy, Global and General hospital and SRM University are among those submerged. The airport has closed down, and the rails are under water, making the trains non-functional. We have had no electricity or water, since the water cannot be pumped up to the roof. People are submerged and dying. The Blue Cross, especially Dawn William, is rescuing animals by the hundreds, and is buying a boat today. It was lovely to see people negotiating the waters holding their pet dogs on their heads or shoulders! Chennai has come a long way. The army and navy have taken over the city and Chennai has been declared a disaster zone. I saw plane wheels under water – an unbelievable sight! Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts are equally badly affected. The Gods are very angry! The electricity boxes are under water – one man was electrocuted last evening on Eldams road.
While we cannot blame anybody for nature’s fury, we can blame the local government for not cleaning the storm water drains; for not desilting the temple tanks and lakes in summer, when they were dry; for not planting the traditional palm trees and Bermuda grass (arugam pullu / durva) on tank bunds, to prevent water breaching the sides; for not clearing Acacia and Water hyacinth from water; for not clearing the inlets and outlets of water bodies; for not removing constructions alongside rivers and lakes in spite of court orders to do so; for dumping solid waste in water bodies, marshlands and waterways; for not closing electric boxes; and so on.
They have predicted more rains, and it has been pouring all day. It has become heavier now. I don’t know what will happen and when and if I can write again. If we have electricity, I shall do so. I have some battery life left in my laptop, so I could write. Our generator is under water!
You can help the Blue Cross of India care for animals affected by the floods. Go to http://www.bluecrossofindia.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/bluecrossofindia/timeline