Situation Begins to Ease in Marooned Chennai

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Chennai: Signs of easing of situation in floot-battered Chennai emerged today with no fresh rains and a sharp fall in water levels of Adyar and Kumbh rivers that were in spate following torrential rains as rescue and relief operations continued in full swing and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs. 1,000 crore more aid to Tamil Nadu.

Chennai city and its suburbs experienced a welcome break from the unpredicted rains of the last 100 years, that resulted in a sharp fall in the discharge of waters from Chembarapakkam, Pondi and Puzhal lakes leading to reduction in the water levels of the two rivers that criss-cross the city.

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The Indian military evacuated more than 2,000 residents stranded in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on Thursday as the death toll from flooding rose to 269 after the heaviest cloudburst in over a century. Ms Jayalalithaa also made a separate aerial survey of the affected areas.

India’s fourth most populous city saw only slight rains on Thursday, but water levels had not receded since a day earlier, when a massive release of water from a brimming reservoir swamped low-lying areas of the city.

After their separate aerial surveys of the flood-ravaged areas, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged for an immediate relief of Rs. 5,000 crore, to which he responded by announcing Rs. 1000 crore more for relief work in Tamil Nadu. This will be in addition to the Rs. 940 crore already announced by the Centre.

Officials said that from a discharge of 30,000 cusecs of water from Chembarampakkam, one of the key sources of drinking water supply to Chennai city, it has come down to 13,000 cusecs in the afternoon and 5,000 cusecs at night after there were no fresh rains today.

Similarly, there has been considerable decline in discharge of water from Puzhal, Pondi and Madurantakam lakes among others.While intermittent rains have been forecast for Chennai, coastal and interior Tamil Nadu will receive more rains in the next 24 hours.

Heavy rains continued to lash coastal Cuddalore district, one of the worst affected areas ever since North-East monsoon fury started early last month, and Villupuram and Kanyakumari districts and Puducherry as the death toll in the state mounted to 269.

Chennai city remained virtually cut off from the rest of the country with air, rail and road transport services continued to be suspended while public transport was crippled because of flooding of arterial main roads, including the Mount Road over the Marmalong bridge.

The Grand Southern Trunk Road that links Chennai with Madurai and beyond was cut off after breaches in several places in Kanchipuram district. The Southern Railway announced cancellation of all inter and intra-state train services till Saturday while the airport operations will remain suspended till Sunday.

Prices of milk, vegetables and food items sky rocketed because of short supply and people were forced to fork out huge amount of money for buying essentials.

With the flood wreaking havoc, PM Modi undertook an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Chennai and its suburbs and neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

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