Chennai Floods: Saidapet's Laundry-men's Slum 'Drain-washed'

It has been over two weeks that Chennai has been hit by floods but there is hardly any help that has reached the interior slum areas.

Published: 09th December 2015 07:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2015 12:43 AM   |  A+A-


A man and woman walking through the sewage water filled up on the road which leads to their house. ( Picture: K S Aditya Rao)

1.JPGCHENNAI: It has been over two weeks that the capital city of Tamil Nadu has been fighting back when it was worst hit by the devastating floods, but, in these testing times, there is hardly any help that has reached the interior slum areas. 

Salavaiturai Dobikana, a slum of more than 300 people in Saidapet, which earns its living out of cleaning people's 'dirty clothes' got washed out in the 'sewage water' as the floods hit the city.

Out of many affected places, Saidapet was one of the badly hit localities during the Chennai floods. There are many sinking stories which took shape as the floods in Chennai grew.

2.JPGDevraj, a 65-year-old, feeble man, who owns a house at the slum's entrance, broke out into tears while he said: "All what I have earned in this entire life, was washed away in one night. Now, I have no place to go, live and reside."

All he is left with is a structure of four walls with no roof. He lives there with his wife and still hopes to survive the disaster with the minimum help reaching his area.

With little hope in his eyes, he said, he was getting food and water packets two to three times a day, "It is the only hope of survival for us".

3.JPGA little inside the slum, stays a middle aged man, Murugan with a family of six members, including two children. He said, "I had never been into a more terrible situation in this life, I don't know how to cope up with it".

While going inside the slum, the level of sewage water on the road increased, high enough to reach the knees.

Babu Basha, an economics graduate, who has taken up his family's laundry business said: "I am left with Rs 42 in my bank account, everything my family has earned over the years has drowned, and we are not even in a situation to work."

Basha said, the relief work being done by some social groups was "remarkable", but they want authorities to take some steps to "drain out the sewage water".

All the documents and essentials of the people in the area were washed away in the floods, "It might take years to get those back from government departments, or we might not even get those" he said.

Nandini, a 27-year-old, resident of the area told that how the public toilets were filled up with sewage water during the flood and then became a reason for diseases to spread.

She said, "We do not have any other place to defecate," and added that they are still using water-logged toilets regularly, which now has a persisting fear of inducting diseases.

30,000 litres of horror on the top

5...jpgShrinivasan, who owns a hut just below the only water tank for the area said, "The tank was in a critical condition and it might break down any moment".

The capacity of the tank is approximately 30,000 litres, it was constructed a few of decades ago and if the tank falls down, it will affect more than 35-40 houses in the vicinity, he said.

"The tank had been in a miserable condition for more than a year but even after numerous complaints, nobody came to repair it."

He said he sleeps in "fear of death" every day as he has no other place to move in with his family of four people, including two young daughters.

Abdul Kaiyum, a social group coordinator said, "We are doing our best to bring the things back to normal in the area." Kaiyum said, the food supplies are falling short and they needed more donations to help the people in the area.

He said, "Corporation is not playing an active part, which they should have," in the cleaning of the area. "The councillor hardly visits the area, which has enraged the workers engaged in cleaning," he said.

The only well built structures, church and a government school in the area have come forward to offer shelter to the homeless.

Hundreds of people from the neighbouring slums, who have lost their houses, have also reached out to the church for shelter.

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