December 2015 may have ended, but the wounds of the disaster which began in the beginning of the last month of 2015 are still alive. People of Chennai were stunned with the magnitude of the calamity that took place, with unprecedented rains and floods. About 2 million people were directly affected. Even though the IIT Madras was not among the badly affected areas, most of the shops around the campus were closed. The power supply was suspended for 3 days, the food in the canteens was running out, and ATMs had no cash. On December 1, many professors and local students got stuck in traffic for over 6 hours. Many local students found it best to stay in the labs and auditorium for 2-3 days, instead of risking going home, due to the water logging and traffic jams on the roads. The Inter-IIT sports meet, which was scheduled in December, was cancelled. Some buses were provided to the institute for taking students to Bengaluru.
From December 4 onwards, the IITM students started their relief operations by helping victims in the flood affected areas of Chennai. Students were running various donation drives to collect food and other daily essentials from the hostels and staff quarters. Various IITM student groups, such as Disaster Management Committee, NSS, VSC, IVil, Vande Mataram etc. were in action in their own way. Many students volunteered with the Ramakrishna Mission, Deepam Trust, and Sevabharathi for distribution of food, mats, blankets, clothes, buckets, mugs and mosquito coils etc. in slum areas. They were able to reach out to a few thousand people in the areas of Madipakkam, Kallukuttai, Velachery, Taramani, etc. Students under the guidance of the Disaster Management Committee IITM and Ramakrishna Mission distributed about 1500 food packets to Ennore village, which was among the badly affected areas.
The Disaster Management Committee has identified two villages for adoption and rehabilitation. In these two villages, about 110 families lost their houses, which will need to be rebuilt. The Disaster Management Committee is still working closely with interested donors to rehabilitate these badly affected families.
The floods also affected the placement process for this academic year. IITM had made the arrangements for interviews on Skype. The Day1 placement was quite good. However, due to the power cut beginning December 1 in the evening, all the interviews which were scheduled to happen on subsequent days got cancelled. Now all these interviews will happen in the second week of January. The floods also affected the preparations for the annual cultural fest ‘Saarang’, and the annual tech-fest ‘Shaastra’. Now, these events will happen only in January 2016’s second and fourth weeks respectively.
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