Army, Navy move in as rains give TN no respite

02 Dec 2015


As heavy rains continue to pound several parts of northern Tamil Nadu and Puducherry disrupting normal life, defence minister Manohar Parrikar today said Navy and Army teams have been instructed to move to the affected areas.

The India Meteorological Department said a slow-moving depression over southwest Bay of Bengal has triggered the fresh bout of heavy rain in Tamil Nadu, which is still smarting from a cyclonic storm that hit the state in November.

The Indian Navy deployed three flood relief teams today to cope with what are said to be the worst rains in the state in 100 years.

One team comprising five divers and 15 swimmers with a Gemini submersible reached ground zero last night and rescued 15 stranded people from Gandhi Nagar near Adyar Bridge.

The second team, comprising one officer, 16 sailors and two Geminis reached the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Office, Tambaram earlier this morning with 250 food packets, as requested by the state government.

The third team from Rajali consisting of two officers, 50 sailors and 200 food packets were at RDO Tambaram office for central flood relief operation thereafter. Additional boats are also being deployed to the RDO office of Tambaram for use by the team.

On Tuesday evening, INS Chetlat on Palk Bay patrol responded to distress call to rescue missing fishing vessel. The fishing vessel was found and towed to Rameswaram.

Shelter for housing 100 needy people has been kept ready at INS Adyar and medical team has been kept on standby for deputing at short notice.

INS Airavat ex-Vishakhapatnam is being rushed to Chennai with relief material.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been launched for assessment of situation in the area. The Navy has also launched a helpline - 044-25394240, which is being manned 24x7.

Two columns of the Army's Garrison Infantry Battalion have been pressed into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam after the Tamil Nadu government sought military assistance.

After receiving a call of numerous people being trapped in a bus in Medipakkam, a rescue column under an officer was immediately diverted and rushed to the spot. The Army column was able to swiftly rescue about 15 trapped civilians comprising predominantly of women and children from the bus.

The rescue teams have rescued and brought over 50 marooned civilians to safety in Gudvancheri and Mudichur.

The third Army Rescue Column comprising of troops from the Garrison Battalion was effective today. With civil communication and Mobile Towers out of Communication in critical areas of Chennai, the Army is resorting to radio communication for coordinating rescue operations to reach affected people and rescue them.

The fourth Flood Relief and Rescue column is being rushed in from Madras Engineer Group and Centre, Bangalore by road. While flood rescue operations are in progress more Army columns are being brought in to augment rescue efforts.

The NDRF is airlifting another 15 teams to the rain-battered state.

Ten teams are being airlifted from Bhubaneshwar to Tirupati, while another five teams are being lifted from Delhi. Each team comprises 40 personnel. The teams are also carrying 20 inflatable boats along with them for the rescue operations.

The non-stop torrential rains pounding the city since last night showed some let up in the morning but the inundated streets left commuters stranded.

Air and road traffic have been severely hit in Chennai. All flights have been suspended at the Chennai airport, where around 4000 people are stranded. The runway is flooded. Chennai Airport authorities have shut operations till 6 am tomorrow in view of the water logging.

All airlines, including Air India, have cancelled their operations from Chennai airport.

At least 19 trains have been cancelled.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last evening and assured all help from the Centre.

"Spoke to Jayalalithaaji on the flood situation in parts of Tamil Nadu. Assured all possible support & cooperation in this unfortunate hour," he tweeted.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh had earlier said that Prime Minister Modi has issued directions to deployed Central team to Chennai to assess the situation and make a report so that every possible help can be provided.

Residents were seen climbing out of their homes or being pulled out to safety in the low-lying parts of Chennai where water is almost neck-deep. SOS messages on social media have led to rescues from buses, cars and rooftops.

Schools have been forced to close and exams have been postponed at least for this week. University exams have also been postponed.

In many parts of Chennai, residents have opened their doors to strangers, offering food, shelter and even mobile recharges. Malls, cinema theatres and offices opened their doors to stranded people.

The Chennai Corporation has announced Emergency Contact Numbers for all the regional zones in the city. People can contact the following numbers in case of any emergency due to the floods.


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