Tamil Nadu Floods - November 2021

In November 2021, Tamil Nadu was struck by very severe rainfall that caused massive flooding in Chennai and surrounding areas. Kanji was also significantly affected. St Antony’s School had to close due to inaccessibility in the flooding, and the Rose Sister’s activities were disrupted. Both SAF and the Rose Sisters are providing support to the most severely affected where possible, and TKP is supporting where we can. This page will provide updates on the situation as it continues to evolve. Please do keep those affected by this disaster in your thoughts. 

19th March 2022

The long-term impacts of the flooding continue to affect several community member in the villages surrounding Kanji. We have been contacted by Lourdusamy about two families whose houses were severely damaged by the weather in November, and who need additional support. You can find information on the the affected families below, and we will keep this page updated with news from Kanji. We are also appealing for any support that can be provided. If you would like to donate to the flood appeal and help us to raise the funds for Lourdusamy to support these families, please visit our donation page.

Mrs Jothi

Mrs Jothi has a 21-year-old daughter with mental disabilities who she looks after. Her husband also left her because of their daughter’s condition. She has no place of her own and built her hut by the side of the lake on unused land, which left her particularly vulnerable when the water levels rose. She could not afford to build walls and so used coconut leaves and cement bags to tie around the house, but the leaves became old and damaged. Insects and snakes creep in through the holes at night. Rainwater continues to flood in when the lake becomes full. Therefore, they need help with building proper brick walls around the house and cement flooring. They are currently sharing the house with their cattle. Lourdusamy estimated around £800 would help to construct a more stable long-term house for Mrs Jothi and her daughter.

Mr Arumugam

Mr Arumugam and his wife are from the “untouchable” caste, and live with their daughter, who has been separated from her partner and living with them for the last 18 years. They are living in very poor conditions, as the roof of the house is fully damaged. It leaks heavily when it rains, and efforts to stitch together cement sacks as covers for the roof have not been successful. The walls are also damaged. Lourdusamy has calculated that the cost to rebuild their home would be around 110,000 rupees, or about £1,200.

21st February 2022

The Rose Sisters have provided food and blankets to 600 households in the wake of the heavy rain and flooding that affected Tamil Nadu. From a report received on 21st February:

“During the heavy rain in Tamil Nadu people were suffering without proper work and food as the climate was very cold. With concern you have asked us whether the people need any help. We proposed to give them blanket, You have send amount with which we bought 500 blankets to the disabled and the Sunshine students’ family. The people were very happy and thanked every one of you who have contributed. Area wise the people were called they came in small group and received the blankets.

“The government gives Rs. 175000 to build house to those who are living in the huts. Like these many works are done to the Self-help people and to the disabled which we put it in the below column to make short.

17th December 2021

The flood relief in Kanji is still ongoing, and both SAF and the Rose Sisters are working hard to support their communities now that the waters are subsiding. Here are some of the actions they have been taking to provide relief to the community. 

  • They distributed bags of rice, mats and blankets and other sundries to over 70 disabled people
  • They have repaired houses damaged by the floods, and provided low-cost housing
  • A week’s worth of food was given to 30 families, in the immediate aftermath of the floods
  • Walking aids have been given to more than 20 disabled people
  • Outreach support has been provided by the Rose Sisters, helping 500 – 600 families with food and bedding. 
7th December 2021

A recent report form our French partner charity Enfants de Kanji on the flood impact on the school reads as follows:

“St Antony’s opened on 8th November [following COVID lockdowns] with certain restrictions (spacing/masks) put into place in accordance with national requirements. Then, with the rain and floods, it closed again. The local lakes, in which fish are bred during normal times, flooded and water containing fish swept through the streets; people were able to catch the fish and share them with neighbours. The pandemic and appalling weather has made the price of basic foodstuffs and materials rocket.”

The rising prices of food and materials are causing further delays in people getting the aid they need to recover from the flooding. The school remains at very limited capacity due to the inability of many students to travel through flood-damaged areas.

6th December 2021

Both SAF and the Rose Sisters continue to respond to the flooding damage in the villages. We received the following report from Lourdusamy on the  current situation as relating to the school’s activities:

We are grateful for your additional payment to help the poor people and the flood affected people.  We distributed last Saturday a bag of  rice 10kg, mat and a blanket along with Rs 500 worth of sundries to over 70 disabled people, elderly widows who had been affected by heavy rain. We also distributed walking aids to more than 20 elderly people and a bed to one of the old man who was sleeping on the wet floor. We brought all these people to our school by our school bus and provided meals to them all. It was very sad to see some of the disabled people and how much they are suffering without any aid from the government or from relatives. The carers are really sacrificing and struggling a lot to look after them with the very little they have. It was very depressing to see them in that condition. I sincerely thank you for your great contribution. We couldn’t have done this if you didn’t send this amount. 

Today I went to the villages to see some of the damaged houses in the rain and distribute the things who were not able to come to school last Saturday. Lots of houses are in bad condition with leaking roofs and no walls around the house. They are just using the coconut leaves and sacks instead of brick walls to protect them from the heavy rain and wind. We are planning to help some of them to repair the houses using Emmaus funds from Switzerland. We have built one house already last week. This week we are building another low budget house to one of the school ayahs who lived in a small hut (Made of coconut leaves only) sleeping on the wet floor. She said snakes and insects crept in many times.”

We remain in regular contact with Lourdusamy, and are hoping to send more funds raised through the flood appeal in the very near future.

28th November 2021

The rain is continuing to cause major issues across Tamil Nadu. Chennai is still under an amber warning for flooding for at least the next few days. The Tamil Nadu government is now reporting that flood response teams are being dispatched to the worst affected areas, but the full extent of the damage remains to be seen. The situation is no better in Kanji itself. TKP has sent some additional funding to both SAF and the Rose Sisters to support in the flood response. The Rose Sisters have stated that they are aware of up to 600 families that have been affected in their area of work.

We also received the following report from Lourdusamy on the situation at the school:

“In Kanji itself, the flood went into the houses of 30 families and they were sheltered in Kanji Government high school for two weeks. We provided a week’s worth of food items for all the 30 families and mats to sleep on. Lots of local people also came forward to provide them food, blankets and rice etc. Now they have gone back to their homes. Lots of people have lost their home (houses damaged due to heavy rain). A few of our own staff have lost their houses and struggling to live in the damaged houses. It is really very sad to see how people are really struggling. We are very much grateful to you for your timely help. Next week we will be distributing food items, rice, blankets, mats, clothes and walking aids to the poor people who are affected by flood around Kanji village.”

19th November 2021

The rain has been constant and heavy for over a week now and is causing significant problems, especially in the towns and cities where drains were being flooded causing sewage to enter the flood water and also contaminate drinking water. The main sickness caused by the flooding is in the towns and cities. As the rain recedes, stagnant flood waters are likely to become a problem in Kanji, as these can be breeding grounds for Dengue fever and other illnesses. However, many people in Kanji are feeling damp and cold and suffering from heavy colds and flu-like symptoms.

The Rose Sisters are supporting in-need people with food and are hoping to provide mats and blankets. They estimate that there are 500 – 600 families in immediate need in their area of operations. 

St Antony’s School has been forced to close due to the flooding causing inaccessibility for most students. SAF are reviewing how best they are able to support students and those in need around the school. This further disruption to education comes at a particularly unwelcome time as the school was beginning to open up again as COVID restrictions relaxed. SAF are hoping to be able to provide immediate relief to those in need.

The Kanji Project is in contact with both SAF and the Rose Sisters regularly to see how we can support their relief efforts as they get under the way. The rain is forecast to last at least another two days, as per latest weather reports. 

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