On the morning of December 2, 2015, the Blue Cross of India received a call from the Adyar police, with the information that many cows and buffalos had been picked up by the torrential currents of the overflowing and much-swollen Adyar River, and that they were being washed away into the Indian Ocean.
As we later found out, the Chembarambakkam Reservoir had received an unprecedented amount of rainfall the previous night, and authorities had been forced to release water as quickly as they could, which caused the river to flow about 8-10 feet higher than it is even meant to, and in a most rapid and destructive manner.
All that aside, when we received the call at our Guindy facility, we immediately sent out a rescue vehicle with a couple of our rescue staff and a volunteer, Satish. Please remember that we had no clear idea what had happened with the reservoir at this point. Our vehicle arrived at the Adyar from Eliot’s beach (the most accessible way to get near the river at that point) and our team could initially see nothing apart from a towering river flowing out to sea. However, one of our staff, Razman Ali, born on the banks of the Brahamaputra in Assam, spotted an animal about a hundred metres out in the sea, and shouting out a quick word to the rest of his team, unhesitatingly dove into the mighty Indian Ocean.
Our team reports that the ocean was angry like they had never seen and Razman went under a few times, only to pop right back out, get his head high enough to obtain or correct his bearings, and persevere towards the stricken young buffalo. When he reached her, she, recognizing her last chance at life, allowed him to grab her and drag her back, struggling against the currents, to the beach. Muneer Uddin and Satish, who helped him with the rescue, report that it seemed to take them forever to make their way back to land, as they had to battle the tower of water speeding at them down the Adyar River. They led her to dry ground and as she had sustained no injuries and seemed eager to feed, they left her grazing and went on with their rescues.
All of us that volunteer with the Blue Cross would like to thank Razman for his selfless heroism, and Muneer and Satish for trusting their colleague’s abilities and helping as best they could. Please bear in mind that their instincts told both of them not to allow Razman to swim out into the Ocean when it was so dangerous, but they backed his judgement and now, that young buffalo has received another shot at life. Their role is not to be discounted, for, in the words of the poet Milton, they also serve who stand and wait.
How you can help animals in the floods
In the recent devastating Chennai floods, Blue Cross has rescued 12,000 animals, either taking them to higher ground or, as needed, providing shelter, food, and vet care. The city is still recovering and Blue Cross flood rescue teams continue this life-saving work every day.
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
© 2015, text and photos, Blue Cross of India.