Tag Archive: Chennai floods


buffalo out to sea 0-2-2

 

By Rudra Krishna

 

On the morning of the December 2, 2015, the Blue Cross of India received a call from the Adyar police, with the information that that many cows and buffalos had been picked up by the torrential currents of the overflowing and much-swollen Adyar River, and that they were being washed away into the Indian Ocean.

 

As we later found out, the Chembarambakkam Reservoir had received an unprecedented amount of rainfall the previous night, and authorities had been forced to release water as quickly as they could, which caused the river to flow about 8-10 feet higher than it is even meant to, and in a most rapid and destructive manner.

 

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All that aside, when we received the call at our Guindy facility, we immediately sent out a rescue vehicle with a couple of our rescue staff and a volunteer, Satish. Please remember that we had no clear idea what had happened with the reservoir at this point. Our vehicle arrived at the Adyar from Eliot’s beach (the most accessible way to get near the river at that point) and our team could initially see nothing apart from a towering river flowing out to sea. However, one of our staff, Razman Ali, born on the banks of the Brahamaputra in Assam, spotted an animal about a hundred metres out in the sea, and shouting out a quick word to the rest of his team, unhesitatingly dove into the mighty Indian Ocean.

 

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Our team reports that the ocean was angry like they had never seen and Razman went under a few times, only to pop right back out, get his head high enough to obtain or correct his bearings, and persevere towards the stricken young buffalo. When he reached her, she, recognizing her last chance at life, allowed him to grab her and drag her back, struggling against the currents, to the beach. Muneer Uddin and Satish, who helped him with the rescue, report that it seemed to take them forever to make their way back to land, as they had to battle the tower of water speeding at them down the Adyar River. They led her to dry ground and as she had sustained no injuries and seemed eager to feed, they left her grazing and went on with their rescues.

 

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All of us that volunteer with the Blue Cross would like to thank Razman for his selfless heroism, and Muneer and Satish for trusting their colleague’s abilities and helping as best they could. Please bear in mind that their instincts told both of them not to allow Razman to swim out into the Ocean when it was so dangerous, but they backed his judgement and now, that young buffalo has received another shot at life. Their role is not to be discounted, for, in the words of the poet Milton, they also serve who stand and wait.

 

How you can help animals in the floods

 

In the recent devastating Chennai floods, Blue Cross has rescued 12,000 animals, either taking them to higher ground or, as needed, providing shelter, food, and vet care. The city is still recovering and Blue Cross flood rescue teams continue this life-saving work every day. – Editor

 

If you’d like to donate to help Blue Cross of India with their work rescuing animals affected by the floods…

 

From the U.S. or anywhere outside India, click here.

 

From inside India, click here.

 

 

Thank you!

 

© 2015, text and photos, Blue Cross of India. This may be reposted provided full credit is given.

 

 

00team and buffalo

 

By Rudra Krishna

 

During the recent floods in Chennai, on November 14 at about 6 am, the Blue Cross of India received a call from Mr. Velu, on the Red Hills by-pass road, with the information that a buffalo was being washed away with the heavy current of the breached Ambathur lake, that he was following her, and that we needed to rush out right away.

 

Our volunteers Kiran, Selvam, Kavin, Santosh, Arjun, and Shunmugam had all returned from late-night flood rescues just an hour and a half before the call came in, and were resting at the Blue Cross facility in Guindy. They were woken up and immediately left to attend to the rescue. The scene that met their eyes seemed to be out of a nightmare, for they all saw a massive buffalo (they didn’t know at the time that she was full-term pregnant) who was fighting against the currents to reach dry land. They report that the flowing currents were battering her from all sides, and it was clear that the soil under her feet was being washed away. At one point in time, she could no longer reach down to the ground and was just floating, at which point our clever boys guided her gently, using poles, under a culvert and into a storm water drain.

 

 

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Once she was stuck in the drain, our volunteers worked with ropes and fashioned a harness, and—with the help of some gracious onlookers (who also took the action pictures in the frame)—she was pulled out to safety.

 

A word here though: pulling out an 800-kilogram buffalo is, unsurprisingly, an incredibly difficult task. The ropes had to be placed very judiciously so that she wouldn’t dislocate any limbs. Moreover, it is a pretty risky thing to approach a buffalo. They can be very aggressive at times, especially when in distress. Kiran had to enter the deep storm water drain and fasten the ropes on to her. She wasn’t thrilled about it initially, but he coaxed and cajoled until she allowed him to harness her and secure the heavy ropes properly. The team then pulled her out safely. She was brought back to our Guindy facility, where she delivered her baby, a female calf we named Gina. We are thrilled to report that both mother (who we’ve named Yamini) and little Gina are doing well at our Guindy facility.

 

 

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Our team sustained a few minor injuries during the rescue, but Kiran received rather considerable injuries due to twice being washed off his feet by the currents and getting thrown around a bit. However, we are also glad to report that he is now doing fine.

 

The whole rescue happened during extremely heavy rain, which might not be clear from the pictures.

 

In the recent devastating Chennai floods, Blue Cross has rescued 12,000 animals, either taking them to higher ground or, as needed, providing shelter, food, and vet care. The city is still recovering and Blue Cross flood rescue teams continue this life-saving work every day. – Editor

 

How you can help animals in the floods

 

If you’d like to donate to help Blue Cross of India with their work rescuing animals affected by the floods…
From the U.S. or anywhere outside India, click here.

 

From inside India, click here.

 

Thank you!

 

©  2015, text and photos, Blue Cross of India. May be reposted with credit given.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAL USA photo used 9d1505_9ba56c3c46ca4737b341cd3f1778f56a

 

 

By Nanditha Krishna

 

Dec 8 2015

 

The rainfall from Nov I to 30 was 1255.7 mm, as against a normal of 407.4 . From December 1 to 7, we received 531.8 mm of rain.  It had stopped raining yesterday but has begun again today, a lighter rain.

 

I don’t know if this is Climate Change, but I have never seen such extreme weather. This is Nature’s fury at its beautiful best!

 

The floods were caused by the unannounced and sudden opening of the sluice gates of Chembarabakkam lake . The waters were let into the Adyar and Cooum, and then burst their banks. Since the original channels connecting the lakes and rivers had been built over, the waters used the roads as channels, and came down TTK Road (where we live) from the river, entering our house and the Foundation campus. From December 1 to 6 there was no electricity, so we had to ration the water. We have a generator, but no diesel was available as water had entered all the underground tanks in the petrol bunks. Alwarpet was very badly hit. There was knee-high water inside the Foundation – after all, the building is nearly 200 years old , and is at a lower height than the road. Eldams road and Alwarpet junction were under water, and the waters were as high as car windows. Fortunately, I had desilted our well in October, so we could pump clean fresh rainwater. I didn’t dare use Metro water, which was contaminated with sewage water, so I now have sparkling fresh rainwater! Our mobiles had no connectivity. Only the good old BSNL land lines were working, but most people have only mobiles!

 

My 16 dogs were miserable. They hate the rain!

 

Many of our staff – including those who couldn’t reach home and those whose homes were under water – moved in to the Foundation guest house. We were cooking for about 25 people – breakfast, lunch and dinner! Water entered the ground floor of all our homes – mine, Prashanth’s and the old house, which had knee-high water in the beautiful open courtyards and central hall. Many parts of the city were submerged – bridges, roads, buildings and hospitals – while cars and 2 wheelers are still floating around! Boats were the common mode of transport. But those I sympathize with most are the sweeper women. They could not leave their homes, yet the floods destroyed their houses and took away all their belongings (including gold jewellery kept in a safe). The people living in slums are the worst affected. We are the lucky ones.

 

We have never stopped the pooja in the last 200 years. We were forced to do so this time as the priest could not come and water had entered the pooja.

 

The Adyar river entered Chinny’s factory up to a height of  8 feet. The water went into all the machines and computers. The workers from Orissa who live on the premises managed to escape in time and run to the terrace, but they could not salvage anything.

 

The airport closed down, and the trains and buses were all stopped. Our only lifeline was the Bangalore highway, through which relief supplies entered the city. They say 269 people died, but I think the number must be much more (at least 2690). I know entire families of people living beside the river who have disappeared. I saw aeroplane wheels under water!

 

The NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority), Army, Navy and Air Force were magnificent. They rescued people, provided food, etc. The Blue Cross of India was also magnificent. Dawn William was rescuing animals and people by the thousands in pouring rain, night and day. We bought a boat for the Blue Cross, while HSI India sent down two more  boats and three vets from Ahmedabad. The boats rescued thousands of people and animals.

 

The state and local government were missing and appeared only on Sunday night. Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts are also badly affected. The electricity boxes are under water – one man was electrocuted on Eldams road.

 

Our problems are a result of corruption and lack of preparedness. While we cannot blame anybody for nature’s fury, we can blame the local government for not cleaning the storm water drains; for not desilting the temple tanks and lakes in summer, when they were dry; for not planting the traditional palm trees and Bermuda grass (arugam pullu / durva) on tank bunds, to prevent water breaching the sides; for not clearing Acacia and Water hyacinth from water bodies; for not clearing the inlets and outlets of water bodies; for not removing constructions  and illegal encroachments alongside rivers and lakes in spite of court orders to do so; for dumping solid waste in water bodies, marshlands and waterways; for not closing electric boxes; and so on.  Plastic bags MUST be banned, for they had clogged the storm water drains. Four years from now we will have a fresh cylone, floods, etc., and the same thing will happen again.

 

Finally, water was pumped out of our garden and the Foundation campus and power returned on Sunday night and Monday.

 

I hope my next mail is happier, and not something out of the Doomsday Book!

 

How you can help animals in the floods

If you’d like to donate to help Blue Cross of India with their work rescuing animals affected by the floods.

From the U.S. or anywhere outside India, click here.

From inside India, click here.

 

 

Photos: Courtesy of Chal USA