Chennai floods: Insurers asked to speed-up claim settlements
FM Arun Jaitley has asked all banks to settle insurance claims within four weeks, in a move to provide respite to those affected by the floods in Chennai. Jaitley met representatives of LIC, 27 PSU banks, National Housing Bank and 17 private sector banks. Jaitley said he had asked 2600 banks in Tamil Nadu to provide soft-loans to those affected by the floods.
Chennai is no stranger to downpour and cyclone as it lies in the high-energy east coast and the rains often come raging because of the creation of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal.
The rains in Chennai broke a century-old record with the total rainfall in the city measuring 119.73 centimeters. Chennai's previous record when it was hit by such rains was in 1918 when it recorded 108.8 centimeters rainfall, the highest till-date on record. Major roads in Chennai too caved in because of the incessant rainfall, something that had only happened in 1918.
The heavy rains in Chennai have forced the state government to postpone the half-yearly examinations of all state board schools in Tamil Nadu. CM J Jayalalithaa said examinations initially scheduled from 7 December will take place in the first week of January next year. This would mean that even the institutions in regions not disturbed by rainfall will take exams in early 2016.
400 passengers were stuck at Chennai airport as 9 flights have been cancelled because water entered the runway, reaching the undercarriage of aircraft. Airport director Deepak Shastri said flights couldn't take off till the water level retreated. 13 trains were also cancelled as water had flooded the rail tracks. Roads in many parts of Chennai were immersed, with water entering many homes.
The Army was deployed on 1 December in at least two provincial-areas in Chennai to carry out relief operations as heavy rains crippled several parts of Chennai and Puducherry. The state government sought military assistance after which two Army columns were commissioned into service in Tambaram and Oorapakkam. The Navy is also on stand-by. 4 teams of National Disaster Response Force also reached Chennai.
Celebrities tweeted praying that the rains would stop. These included A.R.Rahman, Manisha Koirala (who was stranded at Chennai airport) and actor Siddhartha (who was forced to leave his house because of rains).
PM Modi told Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa that all help will be provided to the rain-affected parts of Tamil Nadu The number of casualties in rain-related episodes have touched 188, according to the state government sources. The government started discharging 20,000 cubic feet per second of rainwater, the highest volume of outflow in many years from Chembarambakkam reservoir.
After three days of rainfall, Chennai finally received some respite; however, excessive discharge from Chembarambakkam Lake in the city's outskirts has resulted in flooding in areas like Kodambakkam and T Nagar. Essentials like food and milk are in short supply; over 50,000 people have been evacuated and lodged in Chennai corporation's relief centres. Meteorologists have predicted more rains over the next three days.
As floods began receding and relief work gathered momentum, Chennai began working towards restoring normalcy. Chennai airport re-opened for all-weather night and day operations for all flights. Train services for suburban routes around Chennai were also to resume operations. The power supply was also being provided gradually across the city. However, many bodies are being pulled out and damages are being assessed.