Volunteers waded through knee-deep water in Mudichur and distributed food packets and water bottles, even as several parts of Chennai continued to struggle with scanty supplies of milk and curd for the third day on Thursday following floods triggered by cyclone Michaung.
Dedicated volunteers walked through thigh-high water in the residential areas of Pattalam, Pattinapakkam, and Varadarajapuram in Kancheepuram, and distributed food and rescued the marooned through boats.
"We were the first to reach Mudichur on December 4 night when the cyclone Michaung's ferocity inundated the city and suburbs. Our rescue boat hit six electric posts in pitch darkness. Later we navigated to the houses of five marooned families and rescued them," Lt Col N Thiagarajan said.
It was altogether a different story at another flooded house in Perambur.
The Indian army veteran said he got a SOS to rescue a pregnant woman nearing her due date. "We brought her safely by a boat and she was later taken to a hospital, he told PTI.
After leading the Army rescue team during the December 2015 floods in Chennai, Lt Col Thiagarajan made up his mind to dedicate his life to saving people during distress. Post-retirement in 2017 he founded the Mastermind Foundation and plunged into voluntary service.
For the 2023 Chennai floods, he organised six rescue teams with boats and fishermen and rescued about 200 employees of an IT firm, scores of students stranded in hostels besides hundreds of families desperate to reach safe places as the water level rose sharply in their areas.
Several groceries in the metro ran out of milk, curd, bread, and milk powder and some of them displayed "no milk, curd" boards.
"These were purchased to be distributed to the flood-affected people and we are yet to get replenishments from the company representatives," a store manager in Adambakkam said.
Urging the state government to purchase milk from the neighbouring states to overcome the thin supply, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday asked the government to ensure an uninterrupted supply of groceries, particularly to those in the flood-ravaged areas.
Milk and dairy development minister T Mano Thangaraj, who inspected the distribution of the state-owned Aavin milk, here, warned of stringent action against those selling the product for a higher price.
"The milk has been distributed to the wholesalers and retailers as per requirement. Licences of the dealers will be cancelled if the milk is sold for a hefty price in the black market," the minister warned.