CHENNAI--Heavy rains today pounded several parts of Tamil Nadu and inundating most areas of Chennai, severely disrupting flights, train and bus services and forcing postponment of half-yearly school exams even as the state braced for more showers in next four days.
As the death toll in rain-related incidents touched 188, Chief Minister Jayalalithaaa reviewed the situation and deputed ministers to inspect the affected regions.
Half-yearly exams in schools, which were to have begun on December 7, were postponed. Schools were closed today and will remain shut tomorrow as well.
Flight operations also took a hit due to rains. Airport officials said one flight, which had left Colombo this morning, returned.
Twelve trains leaving Chennai Egmore were cancelled due to water overflowing on railway tracks between Villupuram - Tambaram section. Also, eleven trains were diverted.
Motorists had a tough time as not only arterial roads like Anna Salai and, GST Road were inundated but also many interior roads. Also, many roads were damaged, with several of them caving in inconveniencing motorists.
Puducherry and its suburbs continued to be lashed by heavy rains since last night and it recorded 15.2 cm rain in the last 24 hours ending 0830 hours today.
Met office has cautioned of more showers in the next four days across Tamil Nadu with some regions likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaaa Steps In
Jayalalithaa said police, fire and rescue, National and State Disaster Forces and Coast Guard have been kept ready for need-based evacuation of people from flood hit regions.
She reviewed the situation arising out of heavy rains in districts including Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Kanchipuram districts.
She also ordered postponement of half-yearly examinations for school children to next month previously slated to be held from December 7.
As a result of the rains, Poondi, Cholavaram, Puzhal and Chembarambakkam reservoirs that feed Chennai have touched 83.8 per cent of its capacity and out of the 14,098 lakes under PWD in Tamil Nadau 6,791 lakes are full.
"I have ordered officials to take precautionary measures before releasing surplus waters from reservoirs and evacuate people living in low-lying areas," she said.
She also ordered a solatium of Rs four lakh to the kin of each of the four persons who were killed in rain-related incidents a few days ago in various parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the government has started releasing 20,000 cubic feet per second of water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into Adyar. This is the highest volume of outflow from the reservoir in several years.
Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy has sought immediate interim financial assistance of Rs 100 crore from the Centre, to take up relief works.
In a release, Rangasamy said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking immediately an interim relief of Rs 100 crore to cope with the situation arising out of the rains.
Meanwhile, on social media, people have been sharing pictures and videos of the Chennai rains
Sent by WhatsApp pic.twitter.com/VZTBASbf6o— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) December 1, 2015
Waterlogging due to heavy rains near Chennai Airport. pic.twitter.com/3E9UWhEgUa— ANI (@ANI_news) December 1, 2015
People are also offering to provide shelter at their homes:
There's a Google spreadsheet that's being circulated on social media, where people who want to provide shelter are putting in their names and contact details.
PM Modi Assures Support
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the Tamil Nadu government of all support and cooperation.
Spoke to Jayalalithaa ji on the flood situation in parts of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible support & cooperation in this unfortunate hour.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 1, 2015
Several people including actor Siddharth and music composer A R Rahman took to Twitter to express their anguish over the situation in Chennai.
Oh god, please keep my Chennai and its people safe from the floods— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) December 1, 2015
Heavy rain n floods in chennai.. Praying to not get stuck😁😳😔☔️💦 @ Chennai International Airport https://t.co/mBaWLsnPEh— manisha koirala (@mkoirala) December 1, 2015
Here are some Helpline Numbers:
Tree fall, Waterlogging-- 1913
Sewage overflow-- 45674567, 22200335
State Emergency-- 1070
District Emergency-- 1077
Fire & Rescue-- 101
(With inputs from PTI)