Chennai: The forecast held out little hope. Rain-crippled Chennai could expect more rain.
The city woke up to more showers on Sunday morning too, but if impatience among residents was slowly welling up to anger, it was more to do with the vagaries of relief than the weather, with the Jayalalithaa government still struggling to reach basic survival kits to victims.
"Only on Saturday , some relief reached residents of north Chennai. Fortunately, some Tamil news channels arranged for food packets to be distributed in our area. There was no sign of any government," said P. Kathiersan, a resident of Manali, home to Chennai's petrochemical companies.
Most people staying in camps or with relatives want to return home to pick up the pieces of their interrupted lives. "Power returned to our complex only today and there is a lot of cleaning up to do. Unless all the muck on the roads and staircases gets cleaned up, it would be difficult to live here," said K.N. Arun, a journalism professor who had to shift to a hotel and then a relative's place after his colony in Thoraipakkam was flooded.
He returned to find the air "still thick" with the smell of petrol. "Over 100 cars got submerged and the fuel and water had mixed," he said.
In Velachery, the soft underbelly of south-west Chennai, power has not returned even after a week. Officials say the water has not fully drained and wet fuse boxes on the roads and at homes posed a grave risk.
On Sunday, the showers eased off in the afternoon but the Met office dampened the mood further. It predicted heavy to very heavy rain in Chennai and four other coastal districts over the next two days.
In the overall gloom, the state government has done little to inspire confidence. The failure of the civic administration to direct army columns to really distressed areas has also led to exasperation.
"We have to constantly ask the local police or fire rescue where our people had to move," said an army officer, after his unit from Hyderabad had to wait six hours to receive proper instructions.
A senior state official said co-ordination meetings happened only among state officials, and the army or the NDRF were not invited. "The chief secretary spends almost six hours at the chief minister's residence waiting for instructions, which further hampers the chain of command," he said.
"Too many IAS officers had been given additional charge to tackle the flood and time gets wasted in briefing them about flood-relief activities carried out so far. Officers need to hit the ground running as they did during the tsunami, but that is simply not happening."
The airport began daylight operations and the railways said all trains would start running from the coming week. Schools, closed since November 10, and colleges will remain shut tomorrow and could reopen only next week as many of them have been converted into relief camps or continue to be waterlogged.
"One or two days of rain holidays are fun," said R. Akshay, a Class IX student from Mylapore, south Chennai. "But 20 days? Too much." / The Telegraph Calcutta