Eight people lost their lives...Tamil Nadu reels under the fury of Cyclone Michaung!

(This article is authored by Alar)

Tamil Nadu is facing one of the worst natural disasters in its history as Cyclone Michaung unleashes its wrath on the coastal state. The cyclone, which latestly reported, caused landfall and has brought torrential rains, strong winds and widespread flooding to several districts, especially Chennai and Chengalpattu.

According to the revenue department, eight people have lost their lives due to the heavy rains since December 1. One person died in Chennai and seven in Chengalpattu after being electrocuted, drowned or crushed by falling trees. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue operations continue.

The cyclone has also disrupted the normal life and transport in the state. Traffic between Koyambedu-Vadapalani has been blocked due to rain water stagnation. Similarly, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu government buses which can pass through ECR have been stopped, thus the traffic between Chennai and Puducherry has been affected. Traffic from southern districts to Chennai has also been halted.

The Chennai airport has suspended its operations until further notice as the runway and terminal are flooded. Many flights have been cancelled or diverted to other airports. The railways have also cancelled or rescheduled several trains due to waterlogging on the tracks.

The state government has sought an interim Central assistance of Rs 5,000 crore to provide relief to the affected people and rebuild the damaged infrastructure. Chief Minister M K Stalin has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the situation as a national calamity and release the funds at the earliest.

The Rajya Sabha MP from the DMK, Tiruchi Siva, raised the issue in the Parliament and demanded immediate intervention from the Centre. He said that the heavy rains due to severe Cyclone Michaung have submerged Chennai and other districts. “Roads have become rivers because of non-stop running waters and rivers have become like seas… all the water bodies are overflowing. Many tanks have been breached,” he said.

He also appealed to the people of the country to extend their support and solidarity to the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of crisis. Cyclone Michaung is the first cyclone system to cross the coast in two years after Cyclone Gulab in September 2021. It is expected to weaken gradually as it moves inland. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala for the next few days.

The IMD has also advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry. The state government has set up relief camps and helplines for the affected people. It has also deployed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the police and the fire service personnel for rescue and relief operations.