Chennai floods & how you can help

Unless you’re south Indian, you’ve probably not heard about the floods in Chennai (Madras) due to the lack of media coverage – being Australian, I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for my grandma who lives in south India (thankfully not in Chennai).

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The attacks in Paris had a death toll of 132 people and generated worldwide support and media coverage, whilst the floods in Chennai have taken over 270 lives yet have not even had national media coverage (only been reported on by some south Indian media outlets), and the citizens of Chennai have been left to fend for themselves.

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Locals feel frustrated with the absence of government relief attempts and prior attempts to reduce the severity of the situation, saying that city authorities failed to warn citizens of the likelihood of flooding.

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Moreover, the floods are largely a man made cause. Whilst the heavy rains were caused by a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal, the flooding itself can be attributed to man made causes. Chennai has failed to maintain an effective storm water drainage system, and passages to creeks and culverts are blocked with waste due to excessive garbage dumping. The situation was further exacerbated by authorities who failed to inform citizens that they were going to open overflowing reservoirs into the Adyar river, which led to a sharp rise in water levels and the submersion of neighbourhoods.

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Another man made factor contributibg to the catastrophic floods is Chennai’s poor urban planning; with illegal construction (+ lack of storm water drains in these constructions), blocking of water exits and badly planned or unimplemented projects.

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In the days immediately following the flooding, civic authorities and/or police did not come to the citizens’ aid, leaving them to undertake relief action themselves.

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This lack of government action has however brought to light the humanity of Chennai’s locals who have shown an outpour of kindness as the city bands together to support eachother; with locals posting their addresses online to offer food and shelter to those in need, theatres/malls/restaurants opening their doors, families cooking all night to distribute food to the hungry, locals offering to charge phones (the rain has cut off electricity in many parts of the city) and recharge them w talktime/data for those without electricity and phone balance, as well as impromptu rescue teams being formed to help those who’ve been stranded (people, as well as cows, lambs, dogs, pigs etc.).

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How you can help

Whilst Chennai locals are helping eachother, here are some ways you can also help Chennai flood victims from afar:

Give blankets and medical aid – donate to Women of Worth to assist them in giving blankets, mats and other required items to those in flood affected areas, as well as support the medical canps they’re settinf up to respond to the outbreak of illness.

Donate to Rapid Response to fund emergency on the ground relief – you can choose to donate towards a relief package (food, water, blanket, torch) for a family, educational support for children, livelihood support for an affected citizen, to organise a health camp or to provide temporary shelter for a family.

Provide relief kits – donate to World Vision India for flood relief kits including bedsheets, clothing and other materials

Feed the hungry – donate to the Chennai Rain Relief 2015 organisation which is working to distribute food to the affected and conduct volunteer rescue missions.

Buy a meal – the food app Zomato has started the Chennai Flood Relief program which allows users of the app to purchase a meal for those affected by the floods.

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3 thoughts on “Chennai floods & how you can help

  • Thank you for bringing this to light! It’s so sad that this hasn’t gotten media coverage and aid hasnt been sent. It is so frustrating that this can happen and the authorities dont bat an eye! At least the people of the town have come together and helped their neighbors. They deserve better.

  • The city is submerged in water and people are desperately in need of help and relief. People from various parts of the city were left stranded on for long hours without food and proper shelter. Few startups pitched in to help the people of the city. Ola started boats, CommonFloor curated shelters for people to list and find commonfloor[dot]com/chennai-rains Localities you can look for shelter commonfloor[dot]com/pages/chennai-floods-safe-localities and Zomato initiated ‘Meal for Flood Relief’ service in Chennai.

  • K.SENTHIL KUMAR,
    MANAGING TRUSTEE,
    PEOPLE’S AWARNESS AND LEGAL AID MOVEMENT -PALAM
    23-1, PERIYANAYAKIPURAM, THIRUTHURAIPOONDI- 614713,
    THIRUVARUR DISTRICT
    TAMILNADU
    INDIA

    Respected sir/ Madam,

    Sub : Requisition for flood related aid for Cuddalore and Nagappattinam Districts in Tamilnadu-INDIA -reg

    We the People Awareness and Legal Aid Movement –PALAM, organization and we would like to inform you that we are involving various social activities around Tamilnadu and we have registered our organization under Indian Trust Act and we are servicing various national disaster related works. We have effectively worked for the relief work on 2004 Tsunami and NISA (flood in Tamilnadu) on 2008. We have done various flood related relief work with the support of various organizations. We also received an award from DRO (District Revenue Officer) for our work in Tsunami. Now, for the past one month in Tamilnadu the districts like Chennai, Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore, Nagappattinam and Thiruvarur were highly affected by North east monsoon rains. In this unfavourable situation, many people lost their basic lives and their conditions are unimaginable. They lost their houses, cloths, rice, certificates and electric goods. Many people are starving for food and water. They are residing in flood relief camps and schools.
    We are providing food, water, mat, bed sheets, candles, clothes for the affected people. There are 15,000 people are staying in cuddalore camp and the water level is not completely drained from the streets and houses due to continuous rainfall. So still the people are staying in the government camps. Therefore, kindly provide and send us the following basic needs to our organization. In case if you are not providing these materials please provide us reasonable financial aid by cash. We have attached our organization profiles and appreciation letter from government authorities with this e-mail. The PALAM organization is already involved in doing service to the people but we need some help from your organization to support our service. So please send the following basic needs to us as soon as possible. We have mentioned the basic necessity items below.

    Thanking you.

    Basic items for 15000 PEOPLE ( FOR CUDDALORE AND NAGAPATTINAM DISTRICT IN TAMILNADU):

    1. Rice 11. Tea powder 21. Chlorine tablets
    2. Wheat 12. Torch light & Batteries 22. Groceries
    3. Milk powder 13. Candles 23. Women nighties
    4. Bread 14. Match boxes 24. Drinking water
    5. Biscuits 15. Sanitary pads 25. Cooking utensils
    6. Noodle packets 16. Edible oil 26. Detergent soaps
    7. Mat 17. Kerosene stoves 27. Tooth brushes
    8. Clothes 18. Disinfectants 28. Tooth paste
    9. Towel 19. Bleaching powder 29. Sweater
    10. Sugar 20. Bathing soaps & baby soaps .30. Diapers
    31.Tarpalin

    Thanking you,

    COLLECTION AND PACKING CENTRE FOR NAGAPATTINAM AND CUDDALORE:

    K.SENTHIL KUMAR,
    MANAGING TRUSTEE,
    PEOPLE’S AWARNESS AND LEGAL AID MOVEMENT -PALAM
    23-1, PERIYANAYAKIPURAM, THIRUTHURAIPOONDI- 614713,
    THIRUVARUR DISTRICT
    TAMILNADU
    INDIA

    CONTACT: 09842607609, 09003232572,

    Email: palamngo3@gmail.com

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