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Chennai Floods 2023 – The Unsung Heroes


On behalf of all Chennaites, I sincerely thank Armed Forces along with NDRF for spearheading the rescue missions at Chennai and supporting with relief materials after the cyclone. My sister’s family along with my nanogenarian mom were rescued in a boat by the Army from high rise residential apartment in Perumbakkam. We sincerely thank the unknown face from the Chennai Veteran group who had activated Army to rescue my family members. The state administration is totally clueless of the rescue plan in such an eventuality even after 72 hours despite the fact that colony is housing close to 6000 people. This is not the only colony as such. Sad state of affairs to say the least. There were lots of volunteers in different pockets of the city who got into action and helping out people in distress and we are great full to them too.

On 4th Dec, Chennai was getting a very heavy downpour not witnessed in the recent times. I was driving to the nearest Petrol station to fetch diesel for our generator along with a co-resident and reaching back home was indeed a challenge and scary too. After seeing the situation, I reached out to Air Veteran Group, Chennai, family members and friends to support me in relief operations limited to giving food, water and milk to the needy within a limited radius from my home as there were poor people around.

While self and my wife were planning for food distribution, we came across RSS volunteers who were giving us a ground reality check of areas which are marooned and the people who are really in distress. We shifted our relief focus to those areas beyond the vicinity of our home. By this time, we realised our relief operations was delayed by more than 48 hours as RSS had already started making food and distributing to the homeless from Monday evening onwards. They were pro-active, anticipating this calamity and started on war footing when the cyclone hit us. Beauty is no one will ever come to know that the RSS is doing the relief with the help of good samaritans who helped them in food preparations and distribution.

I also came to know that RSS is augmenting volunteers from other Northern States to help Chennaites.

So far in the last three days, food for 2000 people and 500 ltrs of water has been distributed by our team at various places and limited milk and bread. This couldn’t have been possible but for the support we got from Chennai Air Veteran Group, family and friends circle and we thank them immensely. Today noon (8th Dec) the food distribution activity will be called off by our team and will be switching over to getting them bedsheets, mosquito net, bleaching powder, mosquito coils and medicines. The state machinery is yet to speak on those needs yet. They may be planning probably.

The water stagnation is slowly receding and the ruling party has hit the streets with bags of rice and other relief materials. Big line is waiting for many hours for the distribution as we drive down at various places as the local MLA and media hasn’t reached there. During critical times the ruling elite stayed indoors while the Army, NDRF, RSS and other volunteer groups were providing relief.

Once the city has dried up they are seen everywhere.

The true Unsung Heroes are the Armed Forces, NDRF, RSS. These were the guys who were rescuing the affected in critical times from Ground Zero and they will never be remembered by the public. A case in point is a RSS member who is a young lad aged 26 years and also a taxi owner cum driver was shuttling to carry food packets up and down for more than 100 kms daily without expecting to be compensated. And he is not the only one from the RSS. There are many more. RSS displays a true Nationalist and Service Minded ideology in every human disaster. To make it further straight I don’t belong to RSS when I praise this Organisation.

Last but not the least, it’s also sad to mention that young people from big apartments stayed indoors to be helped with relief materials rather than coming out and helping the elderly and needy while the Army, NDRF and poor people were helping the rich. They need to do some soul searching and change themselves to serve the society rather than getting glued to mobiles and computers and be an Arm Chair Critic.

Nation First, Rest Next

– R Ravichandran, Veteran

Courtesy – Rashtriya Sewa Bharati