Chennai, Dec 2:
Steady and continuous rains throughout the night kept people in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai awake due to concerns over the rising water levels, residents said.
“Water came into our apartment and we had to shift to our neighbour’s house on the first floor,” Revathi Vasan, resident of west Mambalam, told IANS on Wednesday.
Another family living on the ground floor has also shifted with us, Revathi said.
“There is waist deep water level around our apartment,” she added.
West Mambalam is located in the heart of the city.
In suburban areas flooding was severe with water levels covering the ground floor and threatening to enter the first floor.
People living at higher levels were opening up their doors to help the strangers.
“The situation was bad and the water level was increasing,” Jenson, resident of Sunambu Kolathur of Kanchipuram district told IANS.
Even market areas like Anna Nagar in the city could not escape from flooding.
In many areas people made shift boats by tying up empty barrels to reach safer places.
The airport was closed Tuesday night, and could not start operations due to water logging in the runway.
Several passengers were stranded at the airport, railway and bus stations.
There was no power supply in many areas of Chennai, and mobile phone services were also affected due to the rains.
Meanwhile hotels were getting frantic calls from residents and stranded passengers for accommodation.
“We have couple of families staying with us as they were affected by water logging,” a hotel official told IANS.
“In Villivakkam area the water level was up to my chest. I had to wade through the water for couple of kms and then catch a bus to my work place in Teynampet,” Suresh who works with a private sector company said.
It was raining opportunity for taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers who were charging sky high rates to ply short distances.
A taxi driver charged Rs.4,500 to transport three persons from airport to a hotel in Anna Salai.
Meanwhile, army and navy teams were called to carry out rescue efforts.
Schools and colleges were closed in the city.
The unprecedented torrential rains, which was recorded heaviest in the past 100 years, has battered Tamil Nadu’s northern districts such as Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said while speaking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Jayalalithaa told Modi that the state machinery was geared up to tackle the challenges.
The state has deployed Disaster Response Force, fire and rescue service personnel and coastal security group at the affected places.
The rains stopped on Wednesday morning and provided some respite to the people, but the weather office has forecast heavy rains for next three days.
During the last spell of rains, around 180 people lost their lives in the four district of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore and Thiruvallur. (IANS)