CHENNAI: People panicked as the Maraimalai Adigal Bridge at Saidapet, submerged by the Cooum, on Wednesday swayed visibly in the Cooum’s currents.
As a precaution, traffic over the bridge was stopped making movement between the southern and the central parts of the city impossible. The parapets walls of the bridge were almost completely broken. Experts were not available to comment whether the swaying was natural for such structures to withstand the current.
Over 2,000 people in nearby areas were left stranded. One of the four boats got damaged, affecting the rescue work for more than three hours in Saidapet’s flooded areas.
The residents alleged that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was lackadaisical in its rescue efforts. Iruthayaraj, who was saved by the Coastal Guard team, said, “Thousands are standing on their terrace seeking help in Housing Board flats at Koothamedu and Salavaiyalar Colony with no food, water and electricity.”
Though flood water entered the second floor of almost all the houses, there was no proper response to emergency calls made by the victims. The traffic along the road was closed from 10 am, after water began to overflow on the bridge built across the Adyar River.
While the Coast Guard boat was damaged, the NDRF was called around 11 am. The locals told Express that the team reached only around 1 pm and was not willing to start rescue work till they got orders from their higher officials.
“A team comprising eight personnel, sent out to rescue stranded people along the banks, came back with just two. Thousands were waiting for help without food since 3 am,” said Ashok from Saidapet.
However, NDRF commandant Rekha Nambiyar said there was no delay in rescue work and so far 600 were rescued.