In North Chennai’s interiors, flood unites people from all faiths

By Staff Reporter

For Mir Zama Hussain, Chairman and Founder, Chennai Shia Youth Association, the past few days have been a test, much like the millions in the flood ravaged city. Along with volunteers from the organisation and friends and volunteers from other faiths and communities, they waded through chest-deep waters in the interiors of North Chennai to provide relief to hundreds of families.


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“We visited the areas of Chinnamathur, near Madavaram (North Chennai), Patalam, Perambur, and Vyasarpadi. Over the past four days, we have covered about 300-400 houses per day in all these years and distributed milk, biscuits, candles, mosquito coils, sanitary pads, etc.”


Since these are the interior areas of North Chennai, little help was available to these people. The situation was especially worse in the slums of Patalam, which have open drains and even in normal times, there is water overflowing on the narrow streets of the area. “We tried to ensure that we can provide relief to each and every house in these areas. For the first two days, we distributed readymade food like vegetable biryani, bhindi rice, but over the last two days, we concentrated on providing bread and milk along with other provisions,” said Hussain.


Hussain lives in Perambur, which has suffered substantially from the floods, like the most of the city. However, his house was relatively unscathed, and in the past few days, has acted as a safe haven for numerous people around him. “We were able to make food for a number of people in my house and thankfully, the house was able to help a number of people in these areas.

The last two days have been sunny and a number of areas saw the water levels receding. However, these localities are full of waste, and will need massive clean-up efforts to ensure that no epidemics follow. “Our primary work was always rescue work, but we will ensure that we provide all the help to the city officials in cleaning up the areas too,” Hussain added.

Hussain also suggests that the damage could have been minimised if the Chennai Corporation had been better prepared. “For a city like Chennai, it would not be a bad idea to equip local corporation offices with boats and essential first-aid medicines,” he says.

The volunteers who worked tirelessly through these days need to be paid medical attention too. Hussain and his team, for example, have been advised to take injections and get tests done to ensure that they do not suffer from diseases.