The Amma canteens, late former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's popular welfare project, continued to serve food to the needy through Monday as cyclone Vardah, a category 5 storm and the worst in a decade, wreaked havoc in the city.
The 407 canteens in Chennai ensured an uninterrupted supply of hot food through the day as the cyclone ravaged the city, killing 10 people and rendering almost 10,000 homeless.
The Times of India reported that at the Amma canteen at the Nandanam Extension on 10th Street, the cooks reported to work as usual at 5 am. Even as the storm uprooted trees and caused wide-scale destruction, the women served people plates of piping hot food.
More than 10,000 people were rescued and sheltered by the National Disaster Response Force in nearly 300 relief camps.
The cyclone flattened homes, snapped communication lines and threw into disarray rail, road and air traffic as it crossed the coast near the Tamil Nadu capital, pounding Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram with heavy rain and squall.
RELIEF AND RESCUE
The National Disaster Management Authority said that a total of 10,432 people were rescued by 19 NDRF teams in different parts of Tamil Nadu as the severe cyclone hit the state.
As many as 296 relief camps were set up of which 97 have become become operational, the NDMA said in a statement.
Altogether 11,857 food packets were also distributed by the NDRF. As many as 297 roads were blocked in Tamil Nadu after the cyclone's landfall of which 89 were cleared so far.
A total of 3,384 trees were fallen and 30 electric Transformers were also damaged. The NDMA said the cyclone will slow down by midnight and weaken by today.
However, it asked people in cyclone-hit areas to remain indoors and not to venture out besides remaining calm.
Cyclone helpline numbers are: 044-25619206, 25619511, 25384965, 25383694.
WhatsApp number: 9445477207, 9445477203.
IT companies such as Cognizant, Infosys, HCL Tech and Wipro allowed their workers to work from home.
Not just the Amma canteens, volunteers in Chennai did exemplary work to help residents.
The helped clear the main roads of trees and debris and controlled the traffic flow, reported the Deccan Chronicle.
One NDRF team comprises of 35 personnel.
No flight landed or took off from Chennai Airport as NOTAM (notice to airmen) was issued yesterday.
NOTAM, is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) reviewed the situation at the Chennai airport at around 9 pm and decided to extend the NOTAM till 11 pm tonight, sources said.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam announced a solatium of Rs 400,000 to the families of the dead.
"The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has deployed 4,000 personnel to set right power lines damaged due to high speed winds that blew at a speed of 130 kmph when the cyclone Vardah crossed coast near Chennai Port," Panneerselvam said.
Advertisement hoardings and name boards of offices and shops were damaged and glass panes on windows and buildings shattered due to the strong wind. Water-logging was reported from in several roads, and sewage overflows in many areas.
(With inputs from agencies)