The capital of the South. Home to the second longest beach in the world, The Marina. Home to The Chennai Super Kings. Home to some of the world's most intricate and beautiful architecture. Home to filter coffee and incredible food. Home to hospitality, industry, trade, ancient links to the West and the city of museums and forts.
It's also home to us.
And over the past few weeks, Chennai and neighbouring cities in Tamil Nadu, notably Cuddalore and Villinur, have been hit with the worst floods the area has seen in over a century. With more than 300 recorded deaths, not only due to exposure but also a lack of medical supplies and electricity, 20,000 people have lost their homes. Chennai is still reeling from having received more rain in a 24-hour period than the UK does for an entire year ! Large swaths of the city have come to a complete standstill, with nearly half the electrical supply being cut off and telephone and transport services severely impacted.
Many don't know of this beautiful city. And those who do, know it as a sunny, bustling hub of perfectly balanced culture and modernity. This unprecedented calamity caused by the onset of this year's North-easterly monsoon has left a trail of devastation so intense that we have become part of the discussions thousands of miles away in the Paris suburb of Le Bourget, where diplomats and officials from over 190 countries gathered to finalise a new global regime to tackle climate change at the COP 21 Meet.
Embodying the beauty of humanity and compassion, the civilians of Chennai have taken on almost complete responsibility of distributing resources and rescuing fellow residents. People are venturing out into waist-deep water, to rescue and to distribute essentials to people who have been incapacitated by the floods.
Watching all of this from 5000 miles away, with our families bearing the brunt of this 'man-made and natural' disaster is hard. We're far away. We're desperate. We're scared. We're reaching out to you. Those are our families. Those are our friends. Our people. Those are our homes. Those are the places we've grown up in and the places that have seen us grow into the people we are today.
The Indian Army as always is doing an extraordinary job.
Radio Jockey Balaji and Tamil Actor Siddharth, using the hashtag #ChennaiMicro and #CuddaloreMicro have become local heroes, assimilating and distributing resources and have become the centre for all civilian assistance. This is the organisation we seek to help. (http://thelogicalindian.com/story-feed/get-inspired/siddharth-and-rj-balajis-relief-efforts-smart-use-of-social-media-deserves-huge-applause/)
And this is where you enter the picture ; where even the smallest contribution you could pledge, creates the biggest difference to someone back there. Let's build hope together. Let's build Chennai back to her former glory.
Trinethra Veeraraghavan & Rajesh Ramesh
Graduate Students (University of Nottingham)
Volunteer Coordinators - Chennai Flood Relief UK
Phone : +44-7867029672
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org