Cyclone Nivar: ‘We Moved to Terrace as Water Flooded My Home’

Chennai was on the verge of the same scenario as in 2015.

Published
My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
Video Producer: Saradha Natarajan

Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar hit the coast of Tamil Nadu in the late hours of Thursday, 25 November. It made landfall in Puducherry with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph. Velachery, one of the low-lying areas in Chennai, was on the verge of the same scenario as 2015, when the city’s streets were flooded due to heavy rain.

Streets flooded.
Streets flooded.
(Photo courtesy: Avantika B Krishna)

A lot of people on social media have been drawing parallels between Venice and Velachery because it is completely inundated. One would probably have to use a raft to travel through these waters.

We were just coping with COVID-19, but heavy rainfall owing to cyclonic storms is a much bigger problem that we have to face every two years.  Though the Chennai Corporation took measures before the monsoon season for rainwater to drain and planned accordingly, residents in my area were shifting belongings to the terrace as water started entering their houses.

“It is very hard to live in the house when it is flooded. The streets were all filled with dirty water that came as high as my hip.”
S Rathnam

Luckily, Cyclone Nivar was not as strong as Cyclone Gaja, yet the windspeed was high and one could not stand stable on the terrace without holding onto support.

While there is now rainfall, many areas in Chennai still have power outage as the waters have not gushed out of the streets yet.

“We have kept all our things on the terrace as water entered the house. We have cleaned the house. We will move the things back into the house when the rain stops.”
S Rathnam
Resident took shelter in terrace as water entered house. 
Resident took shelter in terrace as water entered house. 
(Photo courtesy: Avantika B Krishna)

Street or Pool?

A few residents left the area even before the intensity of the rain increased as they feared flooding. After 12 pm, the intensity of the rain and the winds reduced. People are now coming out of their houses once again to get essentials like milk.

Waterlogged roads in Chennai.
Waterlogged roads in Chennai.
(Photo courtesy: Avantika B Krishna)
“We did stock up the essentials, but it was not enough. We are a family of five, and we ran out of our essentials soon.” 
Sandhya Krishna

By evening, people were stepping into their vehicles and some were even walking in the water.

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