A City Under Water: Floods in Chennai
Every news outlet is abuzz with the severe floods hitting Chennai due to more than a week of constant, merciless rains. On social media, hashtags like #chennairains, #ChennaiMicro and #chennairescue are used by volunteers and organizations providing help. Celebrities like the well-known actor Siddharth are doing everything they can to raise awareness and get more help to the people of Chennai.
Driving in Deep Water. Photo by McKay Savage Driving in Deep Water. Photo by McKay Savage
The rainfall just recently, on December 1, has broken the records of the last century – they measured 490 mm of water pouring from the skies. The severe raining has left the population of Chennai, 4.3 million people stranded, seriously injured, homeless or worse. Floodgates have torn open, while bridges collapsed and washed away. Rescue operations managed to rescue approximately 7,000 people, but the death tolls have risen to 300 people. They even had to suspend the train services, so getting in and out of the city posed a major problem. Life in Chennai had to be halted, with schools and factories closing and no electricity to provide power.
However, it is heartwarming to see just how much people can keep together in times of such disasters. Thousands of people have and are putting in real time, money and effort to help those in need in Chennai, and the main means to spread the word is through social media. Many of the inhabitants of Chennai started an initiative on Facebook and Twitter to collect all the places where people can get food, water or a place to stay until the state of emergency ends. Chennairains.org also provides those willing to donate money or alimentation with bank accounts to wire the money or location to drop the foodstuffs. People can also see weather updates and call in that they need to be rescued. Families can choose if they need any aid, or can provide aid – contact numbers are given in the very lengthy table on the website.
In times of natural tragedies, the focus is on the basic needs of people, so donations mainly revolve around rescue, food and clean water. Nobody thinks, however, of all the traumatized children whose lives have been uprooted without warning, from one moment to the next. Because of this, the Travel Scientists have decided to focus on their needs. From now on, the Rickshaw Challenge – Classic Run will be the Classic Run – Humanitarian Rally. We will aim all our efforts at collecting funds to buy Christmas and New Year’s presents for children, to bring them cheer in such devastating times. Our wonderful participants will be the ones to hand out all of these presents and bring back the smiles to the children’s faces.
Right now, the word is that it hasn’t rained for a considerable amount of time. The sun is shining, and in some areas of the city, the water levels have begun to decrease. Train tracks and airports are accessible again. In most districts, shops were able to open. The Indian meteorological service says that the weather is going to stay dry and sunny in the future, which is wonderful news – Tamilnadu can slowly start to recover.