Report from Chinny Krishna:
After a few hours of actual sunshine today, we had extremely heavy showers this evening. Bangalore had the highest rain in a day for 99 years. Chennai (Madras) has received three months rainfall in just 22 days.
––S. Chinny Krishna, Secretary (retired)
Blue Cross of India
1-A Eldams Rd., Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018, India
From: Rosalyn R <[email protected]>
Date: 23 November 2015 3:37:23 pm IST
To: Chinny Krishna <[email protected]>
Subject: flood rescue
The Blue Cross of India receives approximately 250 rescue calls on any normal day, and we’re able to respond to around 50 of them. However, the recent floods in Chennai brought matters to an extremely challenging and terrifying front when we started receiving 400+ calls a day from the 12th of November, and the number stayed thus till approximately the 20th. The mobile number of our Iron Man, Dawn William, had been published by the Mayor’s Office, the Corporation of Chennai, and in all the rescue information released to the media in the monsoon preparedness plans that were submitted. Dawn’s phone was ringing almost non-stop over the 8 days of flooding. We have never seen a man survive with no sleep for as long as he did.
At approximately 02:00 hours on the morning of the 13th, Dawn received a call stating that some cows and buffaloes were drowning. He rung up some volunteers, got in as many of our staff as he could, and rushed to the spot.
He found that 39 cows and buffaloes had been tied to trees and left for the night, and they were obviously unable to untie themselves and get their heads above water, as the water level was over 5 feet where these cattle had been tied up. Our volunteers and employees (all of whom were picked based on their abilities to swim) found that the current was against their approach to the cattle.
Dawn had brought with him a 100-metre-long coil of thick rope, to which our volunteers bound all 39 cattle before swimming underwater and cutting the individual ropes free. They then joined forces with around 15 of the public who had rushed over to assist them, and pulled all 39 cattle to safety.
700 cattle, 200 goats, 100 snakes
Our flood rescue operations had officially begun, and since then, until the evening of the 20th, we rescued over 700 cattle, more than 400 dogs and cats, 31 pigs, 2 horses, over 200 goats, and over 100 snakes. As you can imagine, there are literally over a thousand rescue stories, all filled with elements of drama, danger, suspense, terror, and tenacity.
All these animals were rescued and placed on high ground. Only those who were ill and injured were brought back to Blue Cross for treatment. Our special thanks to ADGP Dr. Sylendra Babu IPS for his efforts in rescuing many of these animals and supplying us with boats for the purpose. He unfailingly answered all our calls for help, whatever be the time, never criticised our efforts, and was a constant source of encouragement. Thanks also to the Neelankarai Police for constantly providing us with boats to rescue and feed animals who were stuck in homes and on rooftops.
Of course, an organisation like the Blue Cross of India can only survive on the generosity of the public. Heartfelt gratitude goes out to our donors, to the SPAAK volunteers led by Ms. Pooja, who assisted in loading the vehicles with food and in distribution, and finally, to many of the public, people who were in dire straits but still cared enough about others to either call us or rush to our aid during difficult rescue operations. Jai Hind!