ACT Preliminary Appeal: Flooding in Tamil Nadu, South India ā€“ IND152 Appeal Target: US$ 657,278

Originally published




A climatic low pressure area which lay centred over coastal Tamil Nadu unleashed heavy showers ina continuous spree in Tamil Nadu during this Northeast Monsoon from the first week of November and has only abated on the 4th of December. So far there has been three spells of intensive rainfall. The first intensive spell of rainfall was from 8th and 9th November, followed by intensive rains again on 15th, 16th and 17th November. The first spell witnessed intensive flooding in Cuddalore where most of the water bodies were full and the associated breaching affected the community’s life damaging house, infrastructure, etc. During the first spell the city of Chennai experienced minor flooding to moderate flooding. The second spell saw Chennai going out of gear as many settlements in Chennai were flooded. The impacts of this spell stretched beyond Chennai to adjoining district to Chennai namely Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, though the impacts in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur was less compared to Chennai. The third spell which is still on going has been more intensive than the first two spells and the impacts has exacerbated the flooding severely. This time Chennai city was badly hit with nonstop rains, in some areas the flood water level was almost six feet high. Entire neighbourhoods have been flooded, homes, shops and other establishments deluged. People have been marooned in the upper floors of homes.. Many had to remain inside their houses without electricity as the whole city was flooded. People have been rescued and evacuated from the flooded areas by boats. The army airdropped food and water packets to the stranded families. The attributing reason for the same has been due to the heavy downpour on one side and the low level of water absorbtion capacity in view of the continuous rains since November first week. The process has completely thrown out of gear the normal life of people in many districts in Tamil Nadu. So far nearly 400 people have died and over 1.8 million people have been displaced.

Non-stop torrential rains since Monday night (30.11.2015) pounded several parts of Chennai and north Tamil Nadu triggering a deluge completely disrupting normal life as army was deployed today in two suburban areas to undertake rescue on a war footing.The flood situation continues to remain grim in the city and several parts of Tamil Nadu. The city still remains virtually cut off from the rest of the country with air, rail and road transport services. According to reports, Chennai faces acute shortage of necessary items while the price of food grains sky rocket due to shortage. Residents have complained about lack of medicines, milk, potable water and vegetables.

Meanwhile, Indian naval ship INS Airavat has reached Chennai with relief materials. The government has deployed 1200 NDRF personnel, 100 boats and 200 divers to rescue stranded people in flood-hit areas. 40 army teams, 6 navy teams with 12 boats and several relief teams have been deployed in Chennai to intensify rescue and relief operations. In several places, power supply and communication lines are down, adding to the misery. Speaking to India Today Television, National Disaster Response Force Director General O P Singh said 5 teams from Patna and Guwahati will soon leave for Chennai while 5 teams from Punjab have already reached Chennai. Another 5 teams from Pune are all set to leave for Chennai.

Some 164,000 people have been housed in 460 camps in Chennai, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts while thousands have also been shifted to others' houses after water entered theirs. At least 269 people have been killed to due to rain and flood related incidents in Tamil Nadu where thousands have become homeless. Keeping in view the situation, Chief MinisterJ. Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister NarendraModi to declare the unprecedented crisis a national disaster. Chennai has suffered unprecedented destruction, with water overflowing from rivers and reservoirs seeping into scores of apartments and houses, markets, shopping malls, offices and educational institutions, unsettling life like never before. The floods have also killed 54 in neighboring Andhra Pradesh and two in Pondicherry.

A green body on Friday said that the floods in Chennai are an impact of climate change and the "unprecedented deluge" that the city has witnessed is a reminder of increasing frequency of such freak weather events across the Indian subcontinent. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that Chennai could have fared better if it had protected and preserved its natural water bodies and drainage channels.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on last Thursday (3.11.2015) flew to Chennai to take stock of the flood situation. After an aerial survey, he met with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and announced Rs.1,000crore (US$ 151,515,151.52) for Tamil Nadu flood relief. He said this is in addition to the Rs. 940 crore (US$ 142,424,242.42) which were released by the Centre earlier. The floods have left over 269 dead in Tamil Nadu and 54 in Andhra Pradesh, said Home Minister Rajnath Singh in LokSabha. He described the situation as "alarming”. At the parliamentary meet, the Centre described the situation in Chennai as "worrisome". Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Friday conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas in Chennai and sururbs on Thursday. The India Meterlogical Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains for the next three days in Tamil Nadu. The Airports Authority of India on Wednesday announced that operations at the Chennai airport will be shut till December 7 due to water logging on the runway. Many trains have been cancelled or diverted.