Cyclone Michaung ravaged Chennai and the surrounding districts of Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram last week. Flooding, waterlogging and power outages were reported from all over the city.
Swarajya spoke to a few Chennai residents to know about what they saw and how they survived the cyclone, i.e., the challenges they faced, how long they did not have power supply, whether they had food and water etc.
Srikanth Ramakrishnan- resident of Baby Nagar in Velachery
"My area is back to normal now. My lane had chest-deep water. The lane behind me was worse, they were on boats. The water took one day longer to drain for them.
"We got power on Wednesday (6 December) night, while they got it on Thursday night.
"The continuous downpour started on Sunday (3 December). The minute the rain started, the first thing was we lost power. It stopped raining on Monday night.
"We didn't face any issues with drinking water, as there were only two of us, i.e., me and my flatmate. We had a can of water ready."
"We had brought bread and eggs but completely forgot that we had only an induction stove and not a gas stove and so without power everything was useless. We couldn't even make noodles."
"We survived on bread for three days. On the last day we asked for boiling water from those downstairs and they actually gave us one casserole of upma. Not having had hot food for the last few days, we devoured it in 5 minutes."
"I was on the first floor and so was lucky. Those of my colleagues in nearby areas who lived on the ground floor saw water enter their houses. It was neck deep, so they went to the office and stayed on campus. (the IIT Madras campus)
"The campus was drained when the rain stopped. On campus you at least had food options.
"Our lane has a slight slope. So by the time you reached our gate, the water was only knee deep.
"Within our building the situation was not bad, it didn't enter the ground floor as the steps are quite high but outside of our building, it was madness.
"In the lane behind us, there is an empty plot surrounded by concrete posts with barbed wire attached. We were using it as a benchmark and that thing was not visible for the first two days. So water level was quite high.
"Sewage water also got mixed with the flood water. It was completely black in colour.
"Till rain stopped, Jio, Airtel and Vodafone, all of them worked. But after the rain stopped, Jio completely died. There was no signal. Airtel was patchy. We could make calls but couldn't access the internet.
"My Vodafone was working but my battery was dying. My roommate's Airtel wasn't but his battery was full. We couldn't find the SIM card pin and so we couldn't swap SIM cards. We were completely cut off for a while.
"Only after the water receded, could we turn up our cars and charge our phones at least upto 10 per cent and call up our families to tell them we were safe.
"In my locality some of the roads are concrete but there are no stormwater drains at all. So there is no way for water to go out at all.
"The Velachery-Taramani link road is slightly higher than the neighbourhoods besides it. So that water also came in.
"Two of my colleagues in the lanes behind had to be evacuated by boat."
Desika Prabakar- resident of Mogappair
"Water was waist high but we suffered less as it drained by itself in two days. There is a lake/marshy area nearby, so the water went there.
"Water didn't get into our house because the road was lower and all the houses in the neighbourhood are built higher.
"Power supply was not there for 3-4 days. It was restored on Wednesday.
"A lot of people were not fully prepared. They didn't expect this kind of waterlogging. We knew there would be rainfall for a couple of days but didn't expect it to be so much or foresee the kind of waterlogging and flooding that occurred.
"It was difficult to get the essentials as when the rains stopped on Tuesday, the shops were crowded. The limited stocks sold out fast.
"There is a slum-like area on our backside. They suffered a lot as even though there is barren land nearby, water was fully stagnant because a construction company was dumping concrete waste.
"We didn't have cellphone signals for those few days. So I couldn't help anyone. Only on Wednesday, could I forward messages to seek help or call up people."
Prahlad S- resident of Sholinganallur
"On Sunday morning I went to a nearby supermarket to stock up on essentials. We ordered two 10 litre drinking water cans and filled up the overhead tanks.
"Strong wind accompanied the rainfall. Water levels rose on Tuesday and so I moved the equipment from my music studio on the ground floor to the second floor.
"We lost power supply early on Monday. Our inverter lasted till Wednesday morning.
"Network connectivity was patchy by Tuesday evening.
"Even after rains stopped on Wednesday, water levels continued to rise due to overflow from nearby lakes etc.
"We also faced water shortage on Wednesday morning.
"Over 300 families were stranded in our area. On Wednesday night, rescue was done through boats and tractors.
"While we initially thought of staying back, the lack of power supply, connectivity and also the problem of mosquitoes from a barren area behind our house made us decide to leave.
"We moved to our uncle's place on Thursday morning. Now we are safe and we would like to appreciate all of those who put in their efforts to help us, i.e., volunteers, rescue personnel, armed forces personnel, government employees etc."
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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