House surrounded by 3-foot water, laptop about to die down | 1st-person account from Chennai drowned

It’s been raining heavily in Chennai for the last 17 hours. Water is about to enter my neighbour’s bedroom. These images bring back memories of the 2015 nightmare.

It’s been raining heavily for the last 16-17 hours in Chennai. My house, located in the T Nagar area, is surrounded by three-foot water. My neighbour’s bedroom could be flooded soon. Lucky is not the world that should be used now, but I consider myself fortunate for living on the second floor – which has kept me safe till now.

My laptop could die down at any moment. There has been no power since 4 am and it is likely to stay this way until the water recedes — to prevent instances of electrocution, as many have to wade through knee-deep water for basic needs.

As TV channels flashed images and visuals of a drowned Chennai, and as I write this first-person account, I can’t help but shudder at the thought that this could very much be a repeat of the 2015 floods in the city.

For the uninitiated, in 2015, Chennai experienced nightmarish flooding followed by heavy rainfall and also the release of surplus water into the Adyar River from Chembarambakkam reservoir.

While T Nagar is one of the worst-affected, the area where my 80-year-old grandmother lives is in an even worse condition. She waded through the water to reach our place.

While some residential complexes deployed motor pumps to flush out excess water, it made the flooding worse for others. The water could be flushed out of these complexes but it stays in the area, making it difficult for others.

Several important subways have been closed due to the stagnation of water. Madley Road subway and Duraisamy subway have been shut. The situation has made vehicular movement almost impossible. With traffic diversions and inundated roads, normal life has been thrown out of gear — just like what happened in 2015.

In 2015, the spirit of Chennai came alive when hundreds gathered to save the drowning city and people suffering in the remotest corners. People worked overnight at make-shift shelters to pack relief materials for those affected. But, with the threat of a third wave of Covid, one could just hope that the situation does not turn worse from now.

But one can just hope, as the weather department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall for Chennai in the evening.

But as I said in my previous report, we are better prepared this time. We know what we need and what to do if the tide turns for the worse. 2015 trained us for this.

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