Tales of trauma from watery graves of Chennai

Tales of trauma from watery graves of Chennai

Kalpana was supposed to take her newborn daughter for vaccination on Wednesday. But the duo who live in Navachivayapuram in Chennai’s Choolaimedu area couldn’t make it to the hospital because of the horrible flood.

They were finally rescued on Saturday. Till then, Kalpana kept waiting in the top floor of her house for help with the ground floor completely submerged in the incessant rain.
It was only after some students and volunteers had spotted her that she and her child could make it to a safer place and received medical aid. “I was terribly worried about my daughter. I thought we are going to die,” Kalpana said recalling her experience.

Rajeshwari, a seven-month pregnant woman living in K K Nagar area, woke up to sounds of floodwater gushing into her home last Tuesday night and took her little son to the first floor to take shelter with neighbours. Her husband works abroad.

In her case, too, local youngsters who turned volunteers, came to their rescue in a makeshift boat and took them to safety. Parthiban and his brother raghavan, who are Rajeshwari’s neighbours said: “We knew she is pregnant. Therefore, we carefully lifted her from the first floor and safely took her to the nearby hospital. No official could be traced in either of the cases to save the women in distress.

For 27-year-old Shalini, it was her father Kannan who covered five kilometres to save his daughter and her family. “I stepped out of my house in heavy rain on Wednesday after receiving a distress call from my daughter living at Mudichur near Thambaram. I walked almost five kilometres to reach the main road and then hired a boat to rescue my daughter, her husband and her two kids,” 65-year-old Kannan said. The rescue teams meanwhile, admitted that the situation is still serious in many areas.

“The situation in many areas is still very grim, it is quite critical. Since the communication completely collapsed, several couldn’t reach out for help,” an official of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.

According to the NDRF personnel, more than a thousand people are still stranded in Chennai alone. With the mobile services getting crippled, the rescue teams including those of the Army, Navy, Air Force and  NDRF besides the district officials were using special wireless phones.

“The present situation remains risky not only for the pregnant women who have got stranded but also menstruating girls who fail to get sanitary napkins,” Dr Meera, a senior gynaecologist, said.

During the visit to the flood-hit areas on Sunday, this Deccan Herald correspondent saw over 20,000 people, including families with children, taking shelter in many wedding halls.
“My 21-year-old son is still missing. He went to purchase rice last Wednesday morning,” Solaiappan, who took shelter with his wife and daughter at one such hall, said. The rain has also spelled disaster for thousands of labourers, who have come from outside to Chennai for construction work.

“Heavy flood prevented us to return to our native Odisha,” Vikas, a worker stranded at a construction site at Anankaputhur area said.

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