Rain relief for Chennai, rescue ops gather pace
Modi visits rain-ravaged city, announces aid of ` 1,000 crore
CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: The sun shone for the first time in three days and the water level started receding across Chennai on Thursday, speeding up rescue and relief operations in the city crippled by one of the worst urban flooding in recent times.
Officials said thousands were still marooned in their inundated homes but added that relief in the form of food and medical supplies has reached a large section of the nearly three million people affected by the floods, said to be the worst in an Indian metropolis after the Mumbai deluge of July 2005.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew into the capital of Tamil Nadu during the day and announced immediate relief of Rs 1,000 crore after getting a firsthand account of what he said was “the damage and misery caused by the extremely heavy rainfall.”
The government also threw open a naval airbase at Arakkonam, around 70 km from Chennai, for “limited commercial flights” from Friday.
With the flooded civil airport shut down till December 6, Arakkonam has become the hub of rescue and relief flights by the Indian Air Force and the Navy besides a special Air India flight
to ferry stranded passengers.
Throughout the day choppers made sorties across the city to rescue marooned people from rooftops and drop food packets to families in distress while thousands of rescue personnel including men from the National
Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joined the operations in the inundated localities.
Chief minister J Jayalalithaa too conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas.
But the bright sun did lift the people’s spirits with the rain relenting after days of torrential downpour.
Many Chennaites even visited the Adyar bridge and posed for selfies with the swollen Cooum river as the background.
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