Chennai Police have so far confirmed five rain-related deaths in the city on Monday in heavy downpours caused by the advancing Cyclone Michaung.
Two of the victims died of electrocution, while one person was killed after a tree fell on him in the upmarket Besant Nagar area of the city, an official release said. Two unidentified bodies of a man and woman were found in different rain-affected parts of the city, the release said.
Cyclone Michaung wreaked havoc in Chennai and its suburbs on Monday, bringing heavy rains cand causing widespread flooding. Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on Monday said his government was taking all necessary measures on a war-footing to provide relief in the wake of Cyclone Michaung disrupting normal life.
Relief measures in rain-affected regions are being implemented immediately, with various department personnel, including police, fire, and rescue, being deployed in large numbers as a preventive mechanism, he stated.
The cyclone looming over west-central and coastal south Andhra Pradesh has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, leading to heavy rainfall in several parts of the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
This severe cyclonic storm is likely to intensify gradually and move northward almost parallel and close to the southern Andhra Pradesh coast and make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam, close to Bapatla, before noon on Tuesday December 5, said an Amaravati Meteorological Centre official in a press release.
On Monday morning, the weather system was moving northwestward at a speed of eight km per hour and lay centred in the region off south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts. The weather system is expected to blow maximum sustained winds reaching up to speeds of 100 kmph and gusting to 110 kmph as well.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reiterated its forecast of heavy rainfall accompanied by gales in parts of Andhra Pradesh from Monday to Wednesday.
In the wake of Michaung, several places in Andhra Pradesh have also been receiving heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, a press release from the Tamil Nadu CM read, “The government is taking all precautionary measures on a war-footing in response to heavy rainfall over the last two days due to Cyclone Michaung causing devastation in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, and Chengalpattu districts.”
Observing that educational institutions, banks, and financial institutions have been granted holidays for Monday and Tuesday, he added, “Relief measures are being undertaken in the affected districts, with senior ministers, along with government officials, directly monitoring the situation.” He also said am IAS officer was deployed in each of the Greater Chennai Corporation, Tambaram, and Avadi Corporations to oversee relief and rehabilitation work.
To assist residents in low-lying areas, the chief minister said 350 boats had been prepared for rescue operations, while 4,320 doctors were posted to provide treatment and curb the spread of rain-related diseases.
Additionally, approximately 1,000 sanitary workers from other districts were instructed to join relief operations in Chennai, Tambaram, and Avadi Corporations. He noted that 1,238 machines were in use to remove uprooted trees in rain-affected areas, with around 337 machines solely dedicated to clearing fallen trees in Chennai.
Regarding the release of surplus water from lakes in neighboring districts, Stalin assured that the process was being cautiously monitored, with residents from low-lying areas being relocated to safer places. “Adequate food is being supplied to them,” he affirmed, adding that 5,022 food packets were distributed to people residing in 15 camps established in Chennai.
A total of 236 relief camps have been set up across eight locations in the state, providing food, water, and other basic amenities to 9,634 individuals to date.
Stalin mentioned the involvement of 725 personnel from police, fire and rescue, State Disaster Response Force, and National Disaster Response Force to execute relief measures in affected areas. He said that 250 personnel were solely engaged in relief and rehabilitation efforts in Chennai. Additionally, 1,929 electricity pumps were employed to remove water from inundated areas in rain-affected districts.
He also stated that orders had been issued for seven more ministers to partake in relief and rehabilitation works.
Providing statistics on rainfall, the DMK chief stated that over 15 locations in Chennai received over 20 cm of rain, with Perungudi recording the highest at 29.16 cm. Chengalpet district and Avadi in Thiruvallur district also experienced heavy rainfall, with 27.6 cm being recorded in Avadi and 22.04 cm in Mahabalipuram within the last 24 hours.
In Andhra Pradesh, the incessant rains has caused the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to temporarily deny permission to devotees to take the ritual holy bath at Sri Kapilathirtham waterfalls.
Telugu Desam Party general secretary Nara Lokesh has also postponed his ‘Yuva Galam’ padayatra (walkathon) by three days in view of the inclement weather.