Residents of Mudichur and Varadharajapuram on the outskirts of this metropolis breathed free on Thursday as they were finally taken out in boats from their homes, where they were marooned since Tuesday due to the torrential rains that pummelled the city without any respite.
Fire and rescue personnel deployed boats to rescue nearly 200 persons from the two villages, located just a few km from Tambaram, the gateway to Chennai from Southern Tamil Nadu, as rains subsided on Thursday morning. They were lodged in schools and community centres in the localities.
Using boats to rescue people from low-lying areas aforementioned areas and in places like Velachery, which attained posh status due to the IT boom, has become a common sight during heavy rains.
Residents of a few localities in Velachery were also rescued using boats on Wednesday. Videos and photos of rescue personnel helming the boats with senior citizens, women, and kids went viral on social media, highlighting the problems that come along with rapid urbanisation.
“The water kept going up every hour. But luckily we were on the first floor. We are happy that we have been rescued today. We have to come back here because this is our home,” Anthony Dass, who has been living in Mudichur, since 2010 told DH.
Power supply, which was cut-off in areas which experienced gusty winds on Wednesday, was yet to be restored in several areas with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) admitting that there was a problem, though supply was restored in most areas by Thursday night.
The situation was not any good in many areas in the crowded North Chennai, with people wading through waist-deep water to buy essentials and get back home. And adding to their woes was the power cut.
“It is quite cold, so we do not even need a fan. But what about water? We have been using water very sparsely since Tuesday. But yet it got over on Thursday. We cannot run the motor as the power supply is not yet restored,” Banu, who lives in an apartment in Ayanavaram, said.
Besides the troubles that people went through, Cyclone Nivar also had a devastating effect on the green cover in the city. Nearly 300 trees, including those on arterial roads in the city, were uprooted due to gusty winds that travelled as far as over 100 km from where the very severe cyclonic storm made its landfall in the wee hours of Thursday.
Huge trees located on the Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, close to the Marina Beach, Triplicane, Raja Annamalaipuram, Kodambakkam, Mambalam, and other areas were uprooted due to the wind speed that is estimated to be between 120 to 130 kmph.
The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) said 267 trees fell due to the effect of the cyclone on Wednesday night. Falling of trees is a major concern for the city as it has already lost much of its treasured trees to Cyclone Vardah that hit the Chennai coast in 2016. Hundreds of trees in localities like Kalaignar Karunanidhi Nagar (K K Nagar) were uprooted due to the impact of the cyclone four years back.