Chennai: After facing back-to-back disasters in the form of floods and cyclone, the Chennai Corporation has now made arrangements to have a full-fledged 24-hour disaster management cell at Ripon Buildings. The team led by an executive engineer has now been asked to monitor the daily weather forecast so that the field staffers are kept ready.
“The full-fledged control room has connected CCTV cameras, wireless facilities and is an upgradation of an existing disaster response cell. A corporation flood map, the phone numbers of nodal officers and a road map to be executed in case of floods, are now getting updated. The baseline data prepared during 2015 Chennai floods and the Vardah 2016 is upgraded with the new findings and phone numbers,” an informed city corporation official said.
As a preliminary work, the Chennai city flood map with observatory wells is now digitised and will soon be available for the volunteers and the corporation officials. A disaster management book comprising details of Chennai and its vulnerable areas along with the contact numbers is ready for publication and will soon be circulated. Though it is too early as the capital city receives a lot of rain only during the northeast monsoon (October), the administrators have instructed to keep the data ready, explained the official.
The civic body has pressed the disaster management button early this year and activists and residents admit that they are yet to come out of the impact caused by the recent disasters. “Authorities administrating city are yet to learn from their mistakes.
The corporation and the metro water find it difficult to maintain the storm water drain and the drainage connections and I wonder how they are going to address the annual monsoon woes”, rued Egmore MLA K.S. Ravichandran. The corporation is also lagging behind in waste management and is running short of lorries to clear debris and garbage in my constituency, he alleged.
V.Santhanam, a social activist said, “The local bodies were underprepared and couldn’t efficiently manage the wreckage caused by the floods in December 2015. But now residents want better measures in place”. Though the city and suburbs received helping hands from various quarters, the floods played havoc in the capital city exposing the poor arrangements and this has to be changed.