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The devastation of Chennai's floods

Published on 4th December 2015
When natural disasters strike, the pain and fear that hits those affected, is overwhelming. Thousands, even millions, die and no one feels safe as people are thrown out of their homes by the earth’s mighty force. Seeing your loved ones affected by one of these horrific situations, while you sit safe and warm, is heart wrenching. 

I have recently been told that several of my closest friends and whom I consider to be family in Chennai— my previous home— have been brutally affected by one of India’s most horrific natural disasters. 

Monsoon floods.

These are not floods that will go away and all will return normal in a week, or even a month. These are rivers of water running through streets, destroying homes and trapping families. As the water fills houses, families are forced to the streets to tread through sewage water occupied by poisonous snakes. 

My old colleague’s wife and baby had to be rescued by helicopter. Others homes are completely under water, including where I lived. “Your place is completely flooded,” my friend said. "They’re using boats to get around the area and help people get out."

Looking at pictures on the news, I tremble. I know those streets, I know those buildings, I know those incredible people. That city is filled with some of my most cherished memories. 

I have traveled to many countries and lived in various places, Chennai is my favorite city. It is not the most aesthetically pleasing city, to say the least. In fact, the first time I visited I never wanted to return. Compared to the previous Indian city I lived in, it seemed too hot, hazy and busy unlessit's monsoon season and the streets are filled with water. 

Chennai is my favorite place because of the people— who also make the most magnificent food known to man, mind you. Tamils (people from Tamil Nadu, Chennai’s state) are some of the most warm and loving people I have ever met. I will never forget the time that my roommate and I “crashed”— more like fell over— on our electric scooter and everyone on the busy road stopped, jumped out of their vehicles and ran to us.

I have never been more loved or welcomed by strangers as what I received there. It doesn’t surprise me to see that the people of Chennai have relentlessly offered food, shelter and whatever help they can to those who have lost their homes in the flood.

To all who have and are currently suffering through this storm, my heart is with you.