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Revisiting the struggle and valuing nature!

On this occasion of the World Calamity Control day celebrated on the 14th of October 2020, I wish to look back upon the three major calamities that I have faced in the past 20 years.

In 2004, on a quiet Sunday morning, the City of Chennai, like many of the coastal towns in South East Asia, was struck by the giant waves aka Tsunami that emanated from the earthquake of a magnitude of 9.1 near the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Even though my house, which was located 2 KM from the coast, was safe from the Tsunami, I was able to see the impact. Water breached the coastline and entered the scenic roads of East Coast Road. Several of the beachfront properties on East Coast Road were wholly inundated with water.

On the 02nd of December 2015, I bore witness to the manmade calamity of the great flooding of Chennai. That year, Chennai and the nearby areas were blessed with incessant rains. The excess water from the reservoir at Chembarabakkam lake was released without any warning. My locality of Sholinganallur was surrounded by water on all sides. The suburbs of Sholinganallur became an island within a matter of hours. Power lines were cut, Telephone and Mobile connections were shut, and local provision stores were empty. With a 4-month-old baby, we had a hard time. The hardest part was the communication blockade and power blackout, which lasted for more than two weeks. Since the drinking water was scarce, people had to fetch water from the MK II pumps from our locality. The quality of water was only good enough for washing and toilet purposes.

After ten days, I was fortunate enough to hire a portable generator to operate our pumps. To cope with power loss, I carried my inverter battery to my office (operating on Diesel Generator) to recharge it. This provided some relief as we operated electrical appliances like ceiling fans and lights at night. I was fortunate enough to endure this without major issues. However, many people, including my close family and relative's houses, were entirely submerged by the flood. The flooding happened mainly due to illegal construction on the flood plains and unscheduled/unplanned release of water into the waterways in and around Chennai.

On the 10th of December, 2016, the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Vardah made landfall near Chennai. I was in staying overnight at Chettinad Hospital at Kelambakkam as my mother was in the ICU, and I was not aware of the intensity of the cyclone. Due to a lack of accommodation for the patient's attenders, I was made to sleep on the hospital's empty corridor at night. Rain, along with fast winds, lashed around the hospital. The building's architecture made it more difficult as the winds swooped through the hollow corridors making it untenable. I was able to observe the devastation left by the cyclone the very next day. Large banners and signboards destroyed, trees uprooted, glasses were broken, cars damaged are some of the cyclone trails of destruction.

Back at home, most of the windows got broken. Excessive rain brought by the cyclone flooded my house. Like the flooding of 2015, power and communication lines were damaged and took more than 15 days to partially restore. A 20-year-old neem tree at my house got uprooted and damaged the overhead Low-Tension electrical wire and pole along with it.  Due to this, access to my street was blocked. It took the Emergency Rescue team one day to clear the tree.  In this day and age of instant information, surviving 10 days with communication, blockade proved difficult.

After facing two calamities for two consecutive years, I realized the need for electricity at home for survival. It made me install Solar Panels to power the battery-powered inverters.


Adithya Narayanan is a Second Generation Entrepreneur &  Senior management professional with 10 years of experience in business development processes. Involved in day to day operation of business and development of new business opportunities.



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