CHENNAI: Even as rain clouds swirl menacingly in the skies over Porur, various rescue teams are praying for a miracle.
If there is a downpour like the one on Saturday afternoon, operations are likely to come to a standstill, "We are prepared to continue the operations through heavy rain, but some of our welding equipment will not work very well. The debris will be more unstable if sludge forms," said a member of the NDRF team, overseeing the operations.
This could be extremely bad news for at least 4 people who have been found trapped under the debris and are in the wieldy process of being rescued. Disaster relief teams, police, ambulance and medical units and several volunteers have been teeming around the site of a building collapse on Saturday - that has killed 11 and trapped close to 45 in it's debris-laden underbelly.
Despite most of Sunday being ridiculously hot - with the sun blazing at a fiesty 37 degrees Celcius, things went west as skies darkened at 3.10 pm. Clouds began to cower together and reports suggested that South Chennai had begun to be pounded by rainfall. "The ground here is already like sludge and we have put sand to make it steady.
But rainfall will impede our vehicles from entering and exiting with ease," said a representative of EMRI that runs the 108 ambulance service.
Teams show real grit and continue rescue even as hail and storm hit site
Even as the dreaded rainshowers hit the collapse site at 3.45 pm, they brought a companion that rescue teams could have done without - hail bits (ice pellets) that came down on them with a vengeance.
But, in a display of true grit and courage, the teams did not scurry for cover and kept on going to try and rescue two trapped people who were closest to the surface. "The time margin before sludge starts setting in is very Low and we are working at full power," said an NDRF official.