This Article is From Dec 15, 2016

After Cyclone Vardah, Tamil Nadu District Goes To Petrol Pumps -- For Water

The district is without electricity and in absence of power, there is no water either.

Thiruvallur: For three days since Cyclone Vardah barreled through Tamil Nadu, people in Thiruvallur district have been living in the dark. Literally. And many of them are thirsty. Those who can are making a beeline for petrol pumps -- to get water from borewells located there.

The district is without electricity since Monday, after Cyclone Vardah made landfall near Chennai. And in absence of power, there is no water either. On Tuesday, angry women blocked the road Chief Minister O Pannerselvam was to take. They relented only after the administration intervened.

"We are arranging for gensets. Water would be supplied soon," said Dhandapani, a senior administration official.

Hundreds of trees and electricity poles remain uprooted in the district and in Chennai. Cellphone communication and internet service have taken a hit too, since the cyclone has affected underwater digital cables.  

"We are unable to call to anyone. There is no food or water for our kids," said P Rani, a young mother.

Cyclone Vardah blew away the thatched roof of flower seller Maragatham's hut as the wind speed crossed 100 km an hour. The widow and her children lost most of their belongings. Not far away another hut got smashed as a massive uprooted tree fell on it.

"There is no place to stay, no water and no food," said Maragatham.

The storm has destroyed large tracts of farmland where banana and paddy is being cultivated. As the district administration compiles the losses, farmers are already demanding compensation.

L Prabha, a farmer, said, "We lose Rs 50,000 for every acre."

The loss of life has been minimal - 16 people have died in Tamil Nadu. But Cyclone Vardah has hit the people where it hurts the most -- home, livelihood, electricity and drinking water supply.